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Lou Reed
singer
Loureed100
Background information


Birth name Lewis Allan Reed
Born March 2, 1942
Died October 27, 2013
Origin Brooklyn, New York, United States
Genres Rock, glam rock, art rock, experimental rock, protopunk
Occupations Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Record producer, Photographer
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass, synthesizers, piano, harmonica
Years active 1958–2013
Associated acts The Velvet Underground, John Cale, Nico, David Bowie

 


Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed (March 2, 1942 – October 27, 2013) was an American rock musician best known as the guitarist, vocalist and principal songwriter of The Velvet Underground as well as a successful solo artist whose career has spanned several decades.

The Velvet Underground gained little mainstream attention during their career, but became one of the most influential bands of their era. As the band's main songwriter, Reed wrote about subjects of personal experience that rarely had been examined so openly in rock and roll, including a variety of sexual topics and drug culture. As a guitarist, he was a pioneer of many guitar effects including distortion, high volume feedback, and non-standard tunings. After his departure from the band he began a long and eclectic solo career; 1972's "Walk on the Wild Side" was the only hit he achieved (or seemed to want).

Duran Duran connectionsEdit

Duran Duran cites the Velvet Underground as one of their influences from the days when the Rum Runner was emulating Studio 54, and the friendship Nick Rhodes developed with Andy Warhol and his associates in the early 1980s led to frequent interactions. The band covered the Velvet Underground song "Femme Fatale" for The Wedding Album in 1993, and Reed's solo song "Perfect Day" for their 1995 album Thank You.

They also shared the bill with Reed (and many others) at the March 1987 Amnesty International concert "The Secret Policeman's Third Ball". On the live concert album, The Secret Policeman's Third Ball: The Music, their performance of "Save A Prayer" appeared alongside Reed's "Voices Of Freedom".

In August 1987, Reed and Duran Duran again shared the bill at a charity concert for "The Association to Benefit Children"; and Duran Duran backed Reed's lead vocals on "Sweet Jane" and "Walk on the Wild Side". The Duran/Reed performance of "Sweet Jane" appeared on the bootlegs Duran At The Beacon and The Final Show. Duran Duran covered the song again during a 2000 concert in Las Vegas.

A complimentary interview with Reed about the band's cover of "Perfect Day" was included in the electronic press kit (EPK) for the Thank You album.

John Taylor and Melanie Friedman (of Three Alarm Fire) covered the Underground's "Pale Blue Eyes" during a 1997 show in New York, which appears (listed as "Linger On") on the bootleg John Taylor - Live 1997. Three Alarm Fire also included a recording of the song on their Taylor-produced 1999 album Sub Acid Sweet Songs.

Reed commented in the band in the documentary Behind The Music: Duran Duran which aired on VH-1 in 1999, and John and Nick included "Walk on the Wild Side" as one of the tracks on the four-hour A Night at the Rum Runner radio show which was streamed online in 2000.

Due to the friendly relationship, film director Madeleine Farley (Rhodes' longtime girlfriend), was allowed to use some Velvet Underground and John Cale music royalty-free for her 2004 documentary Trollywood: "Pale Blue Eyes", "Sunday Morning", and "You Know More Than I Know".

BiographyEdit

Lou Reed was born and raised in New York, taught himself guitar, and developed an early interest in rock and roll and rhythm and blues, playing in a number of bands before attending Syracuse University, studying journalism, film directing and creative writing. He began hosting a late-night radio program on WAER, featuring doo wop, R&B and free jazz. Many of Reed's guitar techniques, such as the guitar-drum roll, were inspired by jazz saxophonists.

After college, Reed moved to New York City to work as a songwriter for Pickwick Records. One of his songs led to the assembly of an ad hoc group called The Primitives, including Welsh musician John Cale, with whom a partnership began to evolve. Reed and Cale lived together, and with Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker, formed The Velvet Underground. Though internally unstable and never achieving significant commercial success, the band has a long-standing reputation as one of the most influential underground bands in rock history.

The group caught the attention of notable artist Andy Warhol, who as manager raised their profile immeasurably, and secured them a steady spot at Max's Kansas City. Warhol's associates inspired many of Reed's songs as he fell into a thriving, multifaceted artistic scene, though they conflicted over the idea of adding the model Nico to the band. Their debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico (which included "Femme Fatale") is considered one of the most influential rock albums ever produced. They went on to release White Light/White Heat, The Velvet Underground, and Loaded before Reed and other founding members left the group; one more album Squeeze was released afterward under the Velvet Underground name.

In 1971 Reed recorded his first solo album Lou Reed for RCA, followed by Transformer produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson, which included "Walk on the Wild Side" and "Perfect Day". The album Berlin was darker in tone, while a double album of electronically generated audio feedback, Metal Machine Music was interpreted as a gesture of contempt, an attempt to break his contract with RCA or to alienate his less sophisticated fans, though Reed claimed that the album was a genuine artistic effort. He followed up with the warmer Coney Island Baby, switched labels to Arista and issued Rock and Roll Heart and Street Hassle in the midst of the late 1970s punk scene he had helped to inspire. The Bells and Growing Up in Public followed, and Reed appeared as a sleazy record producer in Paul Simon's film One Trick Pony. Around this time Reed also played several unannounced one-off concerts in tiny downtown Manhattan clubs with the likes of Cale, Patti Smith, and David Byrne.

In 1980, Reed married British designer Sylvia Morales, who inspired love songs like "Heavenly Arms" from 1982's The Blue Mask. After Legendary Hearts (1983) and New Sensations (1984) fared adequately on the charts, Reed was sufficiently rehabilitated as a public figure to become spokesman for Honda scooters. In 1985, Reed performed at the first Farm Aid concert; in 1986, he joined the Amnesty International "Conspiracy of Hope Tour" and was outspoken about politics on the 1989 album New York. He and Morales divorced in 1990.

Following Warhol's death in 1987, Reed collaborated with John Cale on 1990's Songs for Drella, ending a 22-year estrangement and allowing the Velvet Underground to reform for a Cartier benefit in France, followed by a European tour in 1993, although plans for a North American tour were cancelled following another falling out between Reed and Cale. In 1996, the Velvet Underground were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; Reed has been nominated for the Rock Hall as a solo artist twice, in 2000 and 2001, but has not been inducted. He continued to release solo albums regularly, including Set the Twilight Reeling and Ecstasy, and contributed songs and music to Time Rocker, an avant-garde theatrical interpretation of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine.

Since the late 1990s, Reed has been romantically linked to the musician, multi-media and performance artist Laurie Anderson, and the two have collaborated on a number of recordings together.

A 1998 documentary Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart screened at more than fifty festivals worldwide and received a Grammy Award for best long form music video. In 2000, Reed performed at the Great Jubilee Concert in Rome, and contributed to Poe-Try, a theatrical work based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe, and in 2003, he released a 2-CD set of music and spoken-word pieces called The Raven, based on Poe-Try. Besides Lou Reed and his band, the album featured a wide range of actors and musicians including David Bowie, Laurie Anderson, Ornette Coleman, Christopher Walken and Willem Dafoe.

In 2003, Reed released his first book of photographs, Emotions in Action, and the box set NYC Man (The Ultimate Collection 1967-2003). The box set was supported by a global tour documented in the 2004 double disc live album Animal Serenade. In 2006, a second book of photographs called Lou Reed's New York was released, and he appeared at Hal Willner's Leonard Cohen tribute show, and played a show in Brooklyn based on his 1973 Berlin song cycle. In 2007, he released the ambient meditation music Hudson River Wind Meditations, and performed the narration for a screening of Guy Maddin's silent film The Brand Upon the Brain, and recorded "Tranquilize", a duet with Brandon Flowers for The Killers' album Sawdust.

On April 12, 2008 Lou Reed married longtime companion Laurie Anderson in a private ceremony in Boulder, Colorado.

In 2009, Reed performed the songs "Sweet Jane" and "White Light/White Heat" with Metallica at Madison Square Garden as part of the 25th-anniversary celebration of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and provided the voice of the villain in the animated film Arthur and the Vengeance of Maltazard.

On October 27, 2013, Lou Reed passed away at the age of 71 in Long Island, New York, following a liver transplant.

Discography Edit

With The Velvet Underground Edit


As a solo artist Edit

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