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Sunday, 27 October 2013
R.I.P. Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed
(March 2, 1942 – October 27, 2013)
Over the coming days and weeks I guess there will be many people putting pen to paper about the loss of Lou Reed who died today. For me personally I just feel I would like to put down what Lou Reed meant to me . I was lucky to meet him once in the 90's in Liverpool I found him to be talkative witty polite and a real gentleman although like many I felt wary approaching him. I was glad I did and it is a memory that I cherish.
His music first appeared on my radar as a 14 year old. I was a teenager who was into David Bowie and David Bowie had left enough hints for me to follow them to the Velvet Underground Lou's band of the sixties. It seemed to me that whilst the Velvet Underground belonged to the sixties by the time the 1970's rolled round Lou Reed was looking for something else and while I missed out on his first solo self titled album (Even though members of Yes played on it) I was primed and ready for Transformer and in 1972 it seemed he was everywhere not just with that album but Mott The Hoople were singing his praises and also the aforementioned David Bowie. Of course Lou was never a one trick pony or a one album artist and his follow up Berlin also featured on the Kirkman Dansette regularly through 1973. From there it was Rock n Roll Animal which I know drove my nan and my grandfather round the bend like many parents round the world I suspect but this was really what it was all about for a 15 year old in 1973/74.
Throughout the seventies Lou would release albums regularly and some I got some I didn't sorry Lou I still don't get Metal Machine Music but then as an impatient teenager maybe that was too big a jump from Transformer, Berlin etc.
I really loved however that Lou made music that he wanted to make and didn't ever make any concession to critics, many of whom felt the barb of his tongue and for evidence of that check out Lou's live album Take No Prisoners which is an amazingly funny recording of a Lou Reed show where the inbetween patter was as important and as entertaining as the songs Lou played unless you were one of the targets Lou was taking shots at.
There was the re connection with former Velvets' bandmate John Cale on the tribute to Andy Warhol, Songs For Drella. Shortly after that The Velvet Underground announced they were re forming and played a European tour. I personally thought they were amazing although I know some did criticise and say they were beyond their best/Bollocks to that these people were legends and I am sure many wish they had seen the band.
So that brings us to today's sad news, I was surprised and shocked because despite Lou undergoing a liver transplant in May things did seem to be going well and both Lou and his wife Lori Anderson were incredibly positive. Sadly that all came to an end today with the announcement that Lou had passed away at the age of 71. I was suddenly taken back to that day in 1972 when I bought Transformer., Walk On The Wild Side, Vicious, Perfect Day; that album had a profound effect and also a positive effect on a 14 year old who was opening up to all kinds of music. Lou, your music stayed with me longer than many others and for that I thank you.
In closing, Lou I never pretended to understand or even like every album you released but I understood and liked many of your albums enough to say that I was a huge admirer of your work. May many more people discover your music and pass it on to the next generation enjoying it as they go along and may many enjoy their own "Perfect Day"