Everyone had their essential Lou Reed. Whether it was a Velvet Underground record, a solo track, or a collaborative piece, there was a musical treat for everyone created by the rock’n’roll poet.
The world lost its avant-garde art rock king this weekend when Reed died on Sunday at age 71. He’s survived by his wife and sometime creative partner, the brilliant experimental musician Laurie Anderson.
Personally, my entryway to Reed was through Transformer (RCA, 1972), a (ahem) transformative solo record that bridged the gap in my teenage mind between punk and rock, between wild freedom and thoughtful indulgence, between Velvet Underground and Reed’s future.
I still remember buying the vinyl version at Record Surplus in LA, driving down sun-bleached highways and returning home to suburbia to put the needle on moody, moving “Perfect Day,” hit “Walk on the Wild Side,” and liberating “I’m So Free.” I probably wept that first time I listened to it on vinyl, as I have many times since, as I did hearing the news yesterday of his passing.
We all mourn in different ways, but musicians do it with tributes. And a great many artists were inspired by the work of Reed over the decades. Last night, My Morning Jacket covered VU’s “Oh! Sweet Nuthin” with Neil Young, Elvis Costello, and Jenny Lewis at the Bridge School Benefit Concert at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View.
OK, and here’s a few older Reed videos to check out:
RIP Lou Reed (1942-2013)