Suzanne Vega “Solitude Standing”

Today’s Cool Album of The Day (#606 in the Series) is Suzanne Vega, Solitude Standing.

Solitude Standing was singer – songwriter Suzanne Vega’s second release.  It contained the hit song, “Luka.” I always thought that it was a song about spousal abuse. As I did my research on the album, I actually found out that it’s about child abuse.

These are Suzanne’s own words…

“          A few years ago, I used to see this group of children playing in front of my building, and there      was one of them, whose name was Luka, who seemed a little bit distinctive from the other children. I always remembered his name, and I always remembered his face, and I didn’t know much about him, but he just seemed set apart from these other children that I would see playing. And his character is what I based the song Luka on. In the song, the boy Luka is an abused child — in real life I don’t think he was. I think he was just different.        “

So it’s song a about child abuse except that the boy that the song was based on wasn’t abused. The creative process is so intriguing isn’t it?

The album opens with the acapella song called “Tom’s Diner.” “Tom’s Diner” was written about a small restaurant on 112th and Broadway in New York City.  I’m attaching a picture. You’ll recognize it as Elaine, George, Kramer and Jerry’s old hang out.

Other highlights include “Night Vision”; the title cut “Solitude Standing,” and “Calypso.”

Here’s an interesting story about the song,  “Tom’s Diner” and how it had some history in helping create the Mp3 technology. I’ll let you decide if that was a good or bad thing!

This is from Wikipedia:

“          Suzanne Vega’s song “Tom’s Diner” was used as the reference track in an early trial of the MP3 compression system, earning her the distinction of being the Mother of the MP3. It was chosen because her a cappella vocal with relatively little reverberation was used as the model for Karlheinz Brandenburg’s compression algorithm. Brandenburg heard ‘Tom’s Diner’ on a radio playing the song. He was excited and at first convinced it would be “nearly impossible to compress this warm a cappella voice.        ”

Solitude Standing was produced by Steve Addabbo and Lenny Kaye. It was engineered by Shelly Yakus.

It peaked at #11 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart.

Luka peaked at #3 on the Billboard Top 100 Singles Chart.

Track listing

All songs written by Suzanne Vega except as noted.

Side One

  1. “Tom’s Diner” – 2:09
  2. “Luka” – 3:52
  3. “Ironbound/Fancy Poultry” (Vega, Anton Sanko) – 6:19
  4. “In the Eye” (Vega, Marc Shulman) – 4:16
  5. “Night Vision” (Vega, Sanko) – 2:47

Side Two

  1. “Solitude Standing” (Vega, Visceglia, Sanko, Shulman, Stephen Ferrera) – 4:49
  2. “Calypso” – 4:14 (written 1978)
  3. “Language” (Vega, Visceglia) – 3:57
  4. “Gypsy” – 4:04 (written 1978) Produced by Steve Addabbo, Lenny Kaye and Mitch Easter
  5. “Wooden Horse (Caspar Hauser’s Song)” (Vega, Visceglia, Sanko, Shulman, Ferrera) – 5:13
  6. “Tom’s Diner (Reprise)” – 2:40


  • Suzanne Vega – vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Michael Visceglia – bass, synthesizer on 11
  • Anton Sanko – synthesizers, classical guitar on 5
  • Marc Shulman – electric guitars
  • Stephen Ferrera – drums, percussion

Additional personnel

  • Johnny Gordon – guitar solo on 2
  • Shawn Colvin – backing vocals on 2
  • Sue Evans – percussion on 7, drums on 9
  • Mitch Easter – rhythm guitar on 9
  • Steve Addabbo – guitar on 9
  • Frank Christian – electric guitar on 9


Official Suzzane Vega Website
See more albums from 1987
Here’s Solitude Standing along with some cool live tunes below that.


BONUS VIDEOS: These two songs are from Suzanne’s first album.

Posted by Larry Carta


  1. Lisa (16 Jan 2012, 2:09)

    Thanks for posting….always a favorite!!!

  2. coachmaddog (16 Jan 2012, 10:16)

    I love Ms. Vega. Always see her when she’s in the area. Top stuff.

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