The word legend is now over used to the point of being almost meaningless in today’s world of music. One of the few musicians who deserve that accolade, Lou Reed, died today at the age of seventy one.
He was one of the true innovators and a palpable influence on how rock and indie music is shaped today. He first came to people’s attention as the lead singer and chief songwriter with The Velvet Underground. The band initially conceived as the house band for the Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable. Their first LP The Velvet Underground and Nico was poorly received in the critical and commercial arenas. Rather than dishearten the band they went on to produce some of the finest music of the late nineteen sixties before their demise in nineteen seventy one.
When Reed decided to go solo he turned to David Bowie for assistance. The result was Transformer, one of the best albums of the year. The album brought him wider popularity which would endure for the rest of his career. Just to be awkward Reed was fond of trying to alienate his audience with ‘musical’ diversions such as Metal Machine Music. The eighties saw the Velvet Underground being cited by just about every indie band as a major influence leading to an eventual reunion tour with most of the original band. Reed continued to have a successful and varied career including acting and collaborations with acts such as Metallica.