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Lou Reed


Photo by Bob Larson/Contra Costa Times/MCT

Former lead vocalist and guitarist of The Velvet Underground, Lou Reed, died Oct. 27.

Hannah Hacker , 4Play Editor
November 7, 2013
Filed under 4Play, Top Stories

Lewis Allan “Lou” Reed took his last walk on the wild side Oct. 27. He died at the age of 71 on Long Island at his home in Southampton.

Reed was famous for his vacant, earthy rock voice and poetic lyrics ranging from topics like sexuality to addiction to the transcendent.

He was best known as lead singer, guitarist and song writer for the 1960s rock band, The Velvet Underground. The band, during its time, was considered a failure, but rose to popularity years later after the band split up. They were famed for their profound lyrical content and unique alternative rock sound. According to their composer Brian Eno, those who bought their first 30,000 records “started a band.”

They were also sponsored by visual artist Andy Warhol.

After he left The Velvet Underground in 1970, Reed continued to forge a successful solo career with the help of rock icon David Bowie. He paved his way with hits like “Walk on the Wild Side” and “Metal Machine Music.” He also wrote a review about Kanye West’s album “Yeezus” for The Talkhouse, according to The New York Times.

March 2, 1942 Reed was born in Brooklyn. Early in life he learned to play jazz guitar from the radio and was a member of several bands when he was a teenager. Throughout his college years at Syracuse University he studied journalism, film directing and creative writing, which would explain why his lyrics were so great.

“I ought to be able to put together a good lyric at the very least,” he said in an interview with The Tribune. “It would be embarrassing if I couldn’t. And I really like rock. It’s party stuff, dance stuff and R&B stuff that we all grew up on and loved. But I wanted something that would engage you mentally, that you could listen to on another level. I just thought that would be the perfect thing in rock ‘n’ roll.”

In May, Reed had a liver transplant in a Cleveland hospital after the organ began to fail due to his previously chaotic lifestyle. In fact, he was due for another surgery.

However, according to The Guardian, he claimed he was “bigger and stronger than ever.

“My chen tai chi and health regimen has served me well all of these years. I look forward to being on stage performing, and writing more songs to connect with your hearts and spirits and the universe well into the future.”

Sadly, his optimistic words did not come to pass.

Reed is survived by his wife Laurie Anderson and many devoted fans who weren’t ready to see him leave this earth. He will be missed.