Lou Reed: 1942-2013…

“The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band.”

Brian Eno.

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Reed passed away Sunday, the result of complications from a liver transplant undertaken in April.  Reed was (self-admittedly) a hard drinker and drug user for many, many years, perhaps sharing that strange niche of old-age survivalism with the likes of Keith Richards.  “I’m a miracle of modern medicine,” Reed recently joked.

Others would be quick to categorize Reed alongside Bob Dylan and David Bowie, with a pioneering musical legacy that included pushing taboo lyrical topics like transexuality and hard drugs.  Throughout his career, Reed took the craft of songwriting quite seriously.

“I’ve always believed that there’s an amazing number of things you can do through a rock n’ roll song and that you can do serious writing in a rock song if you can somehow do it without losing the beat.”

Lou Reed.

Image from the cover of the double-album, Perfect Day: The Best of Lou Reed.

18 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Mr. Reed on writing:

    “One chord is fine. Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you’re into jazz.”


    • David

      Hey Fat Boy: If you’ve created anything with 1% of the musical originality of ‘Venus In Furs’ I’ll acknowledge your right to comment. Otherwise, shut your mouth. At least for a day.

      • ragazzo grasso

        Lou Reed never even sang in tune, it’s more about culture and the timing of what he was singing about.

        • Anonymous

          Why is it that people who don’t have a clue about music often feel this compelling need to share their ignorance?

        • jw

          Everyone knows exactly what a Lou Reed song sounds like. You’re not enlightening anyone, you’re just exposing your own prejudices.

          I’ll take a Lou Reed over a 1,000 merely competent singers any day of the week. A meaningful song sung out of tune will always be exponentially more valuable than a meaningless song sung in tune.

    • Bruce Burbank

      I’m with you, Ragazzo Grasso.

      He made a lot of groundbreaking music with Velvet Underground and with some of his early solo stuff like Metal Machine Music. But the simple fact of the matter is that, evidently, he just wasn’t that good of a singer. Ironically, Metal Machine Music is an instrumental album, but is probably the one album where his limited vocal ability would have been appropriate.

      Everybody always called him a master lyricist or rock poet. I always asked myself, well why the hell is he trying to sing? Why doesn’t he figure out some Bernie Taupin/Elton John or Neil Peart/Rush arrangement where he writes all the lyrics and has somebody else sing?

      But ya, I can appreciate him for making some brave music and being all edgy and avant garde. But really, he should’ve left the singing to somebody else, and just written poetry books on the side or something.

  2. Vail, CO

    His first album only sold 10,000 copies! And that’s without piracy!

  3. PiratesWinLOL

    The world just became a bit less interesting 🙁

    Death is such a waste.

  4. Jughead

    I tried listening to this yesterday, gave up, and put Pat Metheny back on.

    Too old to waste time with unremarkable music.

      • Jughead

        Thanks, JW!! Now, go sit in the corner and try to matter….

        Love puddles.

  5. Bandit

    I prefer my nihilistic drug rockers from Detroit ie Iggy Pop and MC5. At least they didn’t have delusions of grandeur like the folks from NYC