Lou Reed, an iconic singer, songwriter, and musician, died at the age of 71 on Sunday according to a report in the Sunday Chicago Tribune. Reed, the figure behind the Velvet Underground who had a tremendous solo career, died in his Long Island, New York home where he lived with his wife Laurie Anderson. The death was attributed to complications he had with a liver transplant he had performed on him earlier this year.
Reed’s Velvet Underground is noted for revolutionizing rock and roll in the 1960s and 1970s though it lacked the commercial success many in the industry felt it deserved. The bands style incorporated guitar licks mixed with Reed’s smooth melodies, a style that set the tone for one of rock and roll’s future avenues. Besides rock and roll, the band was credited as a major influence on punk music.
Co-founder of the Velvet Underground, John Cale – who had a testy relationship with Reed at times – commented on the death of Reed on his Facebook page by saying the world has lost a fine songwriter and poet. He lamented that he had lost his school-yard buddy. Reed and Cale released a Warhol tribute recording in 1990 called “Songs for Drella” which ignited some reunion performances of the Velvet Underground.
Reed – an admitted drug user and hard drinker for many years - had a liver transplant performed this past year at the Cleveland Mayo Clinic. His medical condition became unwittingly widely known when he had to cancel performance dates.
Reed had one top 10-charting recording for which is most likely best known: “Walk on the Wild Side.”