“Walk on the Wild Side” is a song by Lou Reed from his second solo album, Transformer (1972). It was produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson and released as a double A-side with “Perfect Day”. Known as a counterculture anthem, the song received wide radio coverage and became Reed’s biggest hit and signature song despite touching on taboo topics such as transgender people, drugs, male prostitution, and oral sex.
The song’s lyrics, describing a series of individuals and their journeys to New York City, refer to several of the regular “superstars” at Andy Warhol’s New York studio, the Factory; the song mentions Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling, Joe Dallesandro, Jackie Curtis and Joe Campbell (referred to in the song by the nickname “Sugar Plum Fairy”).
In 2013, The New York Times described “Walk on the Wild Side” as a “ballad of misfits and oddballs” that “became an unlikely cultural anthem, a siren song luring generations of people…to a New York so long forgotten as to seem imaginary”. In 2010, Rolling Stone ranked “Walk on the Wild Side” at number 223 in its list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.