October 27, 2013

"Lou Reed, a massively influential songwriter and guitarist who helped shape nearly fifty years of rock music, died today."

"The cause of his death has not yet been released, but Reed underwent a liver transplant in May."

He was 71.

I'm so sad to hear this. He has meant a lot to me for more than 40 years.

51 comments:

donald said...

Me too. Loved him.

vicari valdez said...

he was one of the geniuses of his time. love the velvet underground immensely as well as a lot of his solo work.

vicari valdez said...

RIP:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf2pF5oMdP4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-Vy4VRRO30

somefeller said...

A master is gone. In addition to being a musical and cultural pioneer in this country, Reed inspired Vaclav Havel and people like him behind the Iron Curtain. Men and women like Reed helped create the last American century and will influence the next one.

eddie willers said...

"....and the colored girls go 'do ta do.....'"

Lem said...

"(where he had a minor hit in 1964 with a dance-song parody called "The Ostrich")."

Strelnikov said...

"Rock N' Roll Animal" is one of the great live albums of all time. Sit back and enjoy the opening tracks, "Introduction/Sweet Jane", and you'll be sold.

Cedarford said...

It is jarring when a generation hits their mid 60s and sees not just friends and family increase "dying", but all the stars and celebs and people in the past they knew they forever have fixed in their minds as youthful, fresh voices and appearances of day past.

Each generation had it. It hurt my Grandmother a lot when all stars and singers of the 40s older than her by 10-20 years died off on her.

For Boomers, the pace is only going to accelerate. The dying off celebs born before the boomer years - but so young and compelling to them as kids, teens and young adults. The big icons, like McCartney, Clint Eastwood, Bob Dylan and so on leaving this mortal coil will hurt. Not just boomers, but subsequent gens that found them as appealing.

William said...

He cracked seventy. If that's not an endorsement of American medicine, nothing is.....He was a true benchmark. There was a time when I had a vague wish to assimilate hipness, and his music told me how distant I was from that goal. Music to OD by.

Strelnikov said...

Also, Sally still can't dance.

St. George said...

Tiny man, big influence

"I Wanna Be Black"

Such lyrics!

Metal Machine Music.....ha!

St. George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

Jacques Brel with subtitles.

jr565 said...

Great in the Velvet Underground.
Only fair as a solo artist. It took a good producer like David Bowie to bring out his best side.

But still, a musical great. Terrible that he died.

PB Reader said...

Enjoyed his music. As for him meaning a lot to me, I never met the man.

Oso Negro said...

Linger on, your pale blue eyes.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

I believe it was Oct. 9, 1974, that we saw Lou at the Felt Forum during the Sally Can't Dance tour, when he was dyed blonde, and he either shot up or simulated shooting up onstage. Either way, he was incoherent through most of the set.

http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/lou-reed/1974/felt-forum-new-york-ny-4bd3d722.html

I have a vaguer memory of seeing him a few months earlier, during the tour when he recorded Rock and Rock Animal, which was a much better concert.

DrSquid said...

"massively influential...liver transplant...shot up on stage" Two of these are related, the other is untrue.

Ann Althouse said...

""Rock N' Roll Animal" is one of the great live albums of all time."

I attended the NYC concert on the "Rock N' Roll Animal" tour.

Ann Althouse said...

"I believe it was Oct. 9, 1974, that we saw Lou at the Felt Forum during the Sally Can't Dance tour, when he was dyed blonde, and he either shot up or simulated shooting up onstage. Either way, he was incoherent through most of the set."

Yeah, I remember having convinced my officemates to go see that concert, based on how great the other concert was, and they were so mad at me and so derisive about my taste in music. I'd vouched for him!

Kirby Olson said...

To me he was one of those guys like Arthur Danto who I thought had talent but wasn't quite ever great. I heard he had Lyme Disease.

jr565 said...

""Rock N' Roll Animal" is one of the great live albums of all time."


I thought that was a terrible album. All the Velvet Songs were butchered and put into a hard rock format that sounded so terrible in context.
Lou did a bunch of songs in the Velvet Underground but never released them. He then went solo and rerecorded them. And the Velvet Versions were released on an album of outtakes. Every velvet song kicked the solo Lou Reed;s versions ass.
He needed the Velvets to flesh out his songs to make them great.

Lem said...

After some prodding and cajoling Lou Reed tells Charlie Rose what he was going for with his music... or, based on scant reading about him, Reed told Charlie what he thought Charlie wanted to hear.

Lem said...

Kevin D. Williamson ‏@KevinNR 11m
L Reed on J Jackson:
If I ran for President
and once was a member of the Klan
wouldn't you call me on it
the way I call you on Farrakhan?


If true, its a good line.

SteveR said...

His life wasn't saved by Rock n Roll today.

Bob R said...

Velvet Underground and Charlie Christian are two artists I remember vividly hearing for the first time (in the early to mid 70's) and being confused over what all the fuss was about. They had been so influential that their music was the opposite of shocking. EVERYBODY was doing it.

It's more pronounced with Christian. He didn't have a lot of recorded music. Every well-trained jazz guitarist knew every one of his licks note for note. You heard them in toothpaste commercials. It wasn't as bad with the VU, but, while the songs were good (and in the end, that IS the point) I didn't experience and sense of surprise, certainly not shock, in 1973.

Sad to see Reed go. He will be missed.

Broomhandle said...

Agree that Rock'N'Roll Animal is one of the great all time live albums. It has to be listened to at woofer popping volumes to be fully appreciated. It also doesn't hurt if you're 17 and half greased.

FullMoon said...

One of his songs convinced me not to ship myself to my girlfriend in a big box.
I have been eternally grateful

Strelnikov said...

"It also doesn't hurt if you're 17 and half greased."

White Light/White Heat, baby.

Strelnikov said...

Trivia on "Rock N' Roll Animal": The back up band was the core of the band used by Alice Cooper on his '75 release, "Welcome to My Nightmare".

surfed said...

Love to pick up the guitar and launch into Sweet Jane.

surfed said...

Addendum - If you had asked anyone in 1975 if Lou Reed would survive till 1980 you wouldn't find many takers. 71? Amazing.

surfed said...

Love to pick up the guitar and launch into Sweet Jane.

Inga said...

Pale Blue Eyes, my favorite. Reminds me of someone I used to like a whole lot.

FullMoon said...

Say, how far will 26 dollars get you today?

Trivia: Heroin was patented, manufactured and sold by Bayer. Seriously popular and a respected cough suppressant and pain reliever for many years until addictive character became apparent.

Broomhandle said...

Oh, and he punched David Bowie so he's got that going for him too.

FullMoon said...

Lou Reed, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder all kicked the habit.
Their creativity went downhill, but at least they survived.

Say, how many kids were influenced by listening to Velvet Underground to try Heroin? Senior citizens commenting here must know a few.



rcocean said...

I had no idea who Lou Reed was till now. I thought everyone was talking about Lou Rawls.

El Pollo Raylan said...

I loved Reed as Bill Sykes in the musical Oliver! which I believe I saw in 1968 when it came out.

He was a known alcoholic though, right? Maybe that explains the liver problems?

jr565 said...

Fullmoon wrote:
Trivia: Heroin was patented, manufactured and sold by Bayer. Seriously popular and a respected cough suppressant and pain reliever for many years until addictive character became apparent.

and this is why you couldn't legalize heroin. If it were legitimate it would need to be regulated. Think of all the class action suits from heroin addicts damaged by the product.

rcocean said...

Thanks Rh for that song. If I ever decide to commit suicide, I'll play that, it should help the process along.

LordSomber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LordSomber said...

Lou Reed will join his brother in the hereafter, Jerry Reed.

Scott M said...

If you're a Lou Reed fan, I highly suggest getting your hands on a copy of "Get Crazy", an early 80's comedy about a legendary venue on New Year's Eve.

Lou basically plays himself.

Eric said...

For Boomers, the pace is only going to accelerate. The dying off celebs born before the boomer years - but so young and compelling to them as kids, teens and young adults. The big icons, like McCartney, Clint Eastwood, Bob Dylan and so on leaving this mortal coil will hurt. Not just boomers, but subsequent gens that found them as appealing.

It's even worse when the celebs that are younger than you start to die.

Tank said...

Wouldn't say I was big fan, but that live album, oh yeah, that was pretty hot. Played that about 1,000 times on LOUD. Be driving around the Jersey shore in the summer, stop at a light with the windows open in the car and that tape (tape?) playing - people would come running over to listen.

Bob Loblaw said...

Lou Reed was white?!? Maybe I'm thinking of Lou Rawls...

Old RPM Daddy said...

A buddy of mine a couple of doors down in the dorm was playing VU and Lou Reed records when we were freshmen. That was a long time ago, and I listen to the music even now. He will be missed -- "Satellite's gone, up to the sky..."

betamax3000 said...

Regarding the Velvet Underground I Tend to Prefer John Cale's Later Trajectory (see "Paris 1919" for Starters); However, Reed and Cale's "Songs for Drella" Project about Andy Warhol was a Great Piece of Work for the Both of Them -- you Really Can Get an Essence of Warhol from these Two Men who Knew Him.

See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahhWksSmX6s


He'd get to the factory early
if you'd ask him he'd tell you straight out
It's work

No matter what I did it never seemed enough
he said I was lazy, I said I was young
He said, How many songs did you write
I'd written zero, I'd lied and said, Ten

You won't be young forever
you should have written fifteen
It's work

You ought to make things big
people like it that way
And the songs with the dirty words
make sure your record them that way

Andy liked to stir up trouble
he was funny that way
He said, It's just work



betamax3000 said...

Another from "Drella":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSxRN0pNciA

Andy Warhol Diary Excerpts Set to Drifting Music. Almost Harrowing in Parts, To Me.

Jim said...

http://youtu.be/i48BP1PUoFI

Interesting take on Lou's music. Heroin meets champagne music.