The world’s art community has just suffered the loss of Lou Reed at the age of 71. Reed, a Brooklyn native, is best known as the musical genius behind The Velvet Underground and had worked with or influenced countless musicians from all around the world.
Lou and friend John Cale came to prominence thanks, in part, to their partnership with eccentric New York artist Andy Worhal. The band was short lived and only produced 4 original albums. While none of those efforts were commercially successful upon release, time has made them all best sellers and hugely influential albums. Songs like White Light/White Heat, Rock & Roll, and Sweet Jane have been performed by innumerable bands around the globe and are the output on which Reed’s legend is primarily built.
Before the demise of The Velvet Underground, Lou Reed had already begun collaborating with other artists who were also on there way to counter-culture hero status: David Bowie and Iggy Pop. Reed is also a noted influence on a variety of other big names in music since the 1970’s. U2, Sonic Youth, Pearl Jam and Ryan Adams all spring from this same musical family tree.
Since Lou Reed walked onto the world stage in the 1960’s he had never left. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and was still active recording and touring well into 2012. His work had turned away from radio friendly fare to more serious art works. No doubt his wife, avant-garde rock pioneer Laurie Anderson, was part of that influence.
So it is that the world must say goodbye to Lou Reed. His walk on the wild side has finally come to an end. His legend never will.