Lou Reed
american singer-songwriter, guitarist, record producer, photographer
Lou Reed
Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed, born March 2, 1942, is an American rock musician, songwriter, and photographer. He is best known as guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter of The Velvet Underground, and for his solo career, which has spanned several decades.
Lou Reed's personal information overview.
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On the Culture Front: Music from the Underground, Part 8
Huffington Post - about 1 month
Photo courtesy of Wicklow Atwater Listening to Wicklow Atwater is a pure adrenaline rush, like having a chair smashed over your head during a bar fight. It's brash, hard-hitting and not the least bit subtle. None of these are criticisms though as it's a lot of fun to tap into so much pure Id. The seventeen tracks of "The Fallen Flame String Band" are a quick listen propelled by the momentum of furiously picked banjo and mandolin riffs. The most tuneful one is the backbone of "Sleeping Through", which is set to a relatively slower tempo and features a bit of self-examination. "Minimum Wage" is a more apt example of the group's blunt lyricism. "Your boss is a jerk. Your boss is a slob, but you're too scared to quit your job" is bellowed with breakneck pacing. The heart of the song though is the line "getting paid minimum wage is a system that we can't beat." Other songs like "Inside You" hit a crasser tone with lines like "I don't love you. I don't need you. I just want to be inside ...
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Huffington Post article
Bowie Rocks Beverly Hills (Like It's 1972)
Huffington Post - about 1 month
David Bowie at The Beverly Hills Hotel in 1972 photographed by Mick Rock. Images courtesy Frank Pictures Gallery (left) and Taschen Gallery (right) "It's got everything I want!" That's how David Bowie felt about The Beverly Hills Hotel. He once confided in his friend, photographer Mick Rock, that he'd love to take up a residency there. In 1972, amid the Ziggy Stardust craze, the two spent eight nights at the property, taking pictures around the bungalow gardens. The result was a series of mesmerizing portraits of the late performer that have stood the test of time. What better way to honor David Bowie's creative legacy than to join Mick Rock at the very location where these iconic images were taken! An exhibition, a book signing and an anniversary brunch are scheduled for Sunday, January 22 at the LA landmark. Presidential Bungalow at The Beverly Hills Hotel. Image courtesy The Beverly Hills Hotel. The event will celebrate the release of the Taschen art book "The Rise of Da ...
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Huffington Post article
Bookends: What’s the Best Book, New or Old, You Read This Year?
NYTimes - 2 months
All 16 Bookends columnists share their favorite reading experiences of 2016.
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NYTimes article
Dogs Vs. Math
Huffington Post - 3 months
Are you a parent? Are you thinking of getting a dog? I most definitely want one. A big one. I had one as a kid, then another as a young adult. Since then, it's been a 23-year dry spell. Much of this comes down to circumstance. I've lived most of those years in places that either didn't allow pets, or simply couldn't accommodate a medium to large-sized pup. The good news: I now reside at a location that's decently suited for pet ownership. (Nice-sized apartment, adjacent, park, etc.) The bad news: Adding a dog to my life means some financial planning is in order. We're talking vet bills, doggie toys, grooming supplies, the healthiest and safest dog foods - the list goes on. So yeah, basically, a budget. This is infinitely easier said than done. The reason: budgets are all about math - a field everyone seems to comprehend except me. So much so that heightened abilities in the field of mathematics (recognition of algorithms, numerical patterns and the like) have become a 21st ce ...
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Huffington Post article
Eleven More Bass Players Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Huffington Post - 3 months
"You ask the average person what a bass is, or what a bass sounds like, and most of the time, they don't know. But remove the bass from any piece of music and suddenly it becomes the largest missing piece in the world! Whoa, fifty percent of the music just went away with one instrument! It is an instrument that is much more conspicuous by its absence than by its presence..." As told to this writer by Michael J. Visceglia, bassist, author, educator, recording artist The 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees were revealed a few weeks ago and I congratulate all the artists: Bad Brains, Chaka Khan, Chic, Depeche Mode, Electric Light Orchestra, J. Geils Band, Jane's Addiction, Janet Jackson, Joan Baez, Joe Tex, Journey, Kraftwerk, MC 5, Pearl Jam, Steppenwolf, The Cars, The Zombies, Tupac Shakur, and Yes. Some of the choices are obvious to me, some less so. A few leave me bewildered, but that's rock and roll...the mistakes make the music real. And I see that a few of the nomi ...
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Huffington Post article
RIP Leonard Cohen: The Joy of Words and the Art of Gloom
Huffington Post - 4 months
Leonard Cohen was the prince of cool. The rock 'n' roll, folk music and pop culture worlds swarm with artists, some of them great artists, who exude a measure of cool. Leonard Cohen, who died this week at the age of 82, exuded nothing but cool. He never had a single record reach the top 100 of the Billboard charts. His most popular album peaked at No. 63. He rarely cracked radio playlists unless someone else recorded one of his songs, like Judy Collins with "Suzanne" or Jeff Buckley with "Hallelujah." He never had a great voice. He often performed concerts in a suit and tie. He left music for a while to become a Buddhist monk. He had a string of relationships with women, including actress Rebecca De Mornay, singer Jennifer Warnes and artist Suzanne Elrod. He never married any of them, though he had two children with Elrod. He suffered from periodic depression, a fact that would surprise no one who listened to his songs. Everybody knows the war has ended Ever ...
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Huffington Post article
After the Apocalypse (with Alter-reviews)
Huffington Post - 4 months
My recent columns: America Now Has (at Least) 9,999 Problems http://billmoyers.com/story/america-now-least-9999-problems/ How Trump's Media Cheerleaders Turned Campaign Coverage Into a Total Disaster https://www.thenation.com/article/how-trumps-media-cheerleaders-turned-campaign-coverage-into-a-total-disaster/ What We Talk About When We Don't Talk About Climate Change https://www.thenation.com/article/what-we-talk-about-when-we-dont-talk-about-climate-change/ Alter-reviews: 1) David Bromberg Live David Bromberg has a fine new album out, which I believe I recommended in my last "Altercation." Last week (or so) I caught him with his Big Band at the Society For Ethical Culture. I've been seeing David now for 40 years and unlike most of us, he just gets better. He's a great guitarist, a musicologist, a polymathic performer and an incredible ham. And the new album, released 'The Blues, The Whole Blues, And Nothing But The Blues' is a perfect showcase for all these talents. I ...
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Huffington Post article
Laurie Anderson's Favorite Things
Wall Street Journal - 4 months
The artist shares a few of her and her late husband Lou Reed’s favorite things.
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Wall Street Journal article
The Night Bob Dylan Made Sense
Huffington Post - 4 months
Twenty-four years ago, a concert predicted Dylan's future as a Nobel Laureate. Bob Dylan is officially the songwriter with the most bling. He's got plaques, statues, gramophones, and now a Nobel Prize in Literature. True to form, the Minnesota-born singer performed a career-spanning set at the Desert Trip music festival in California Friday night but never mentioned the amazing honor bestowed upon him Thursday morning. What a rock and roll thing to do: ignore the elephant in the room simply by being the bigger elephant. He's more decorated than Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, and Neil Young. With his new prize, Dylan has won the crown for all time. For America. But if Dylan is a living, breathing national hero, why have we been eulogizing him since he was a young man, almost as if he was dead ? I first asked this question when I attended a 30th anniversary Dylan tribute concert at Madison Square Garden. It was October 16, 1992, and the marquee read, "Columbia Recor ...
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Huffington Post article
Steven Blush's Guide to Being The Underdog
Huffington Post - 5 months
"I think if there's a commonality in my books ... it is cheering for the underdog," Steven Blush told me. "It is not a good business model to choose people who are not famous, but I've always been this way." We're glad he's that way. Because in his new book, "New York Rock: From the Rise of the Velvet Underground to the Fall of CBGB," he chronicles the many phases of rock 'n' roll music in New York City between the 40-year span of 1966 to 2006, from now world-famous bands such as Blondie and Kiss to a whole host of lesser-known bands who were part of the New York rock scene. And in doing so, he continues in the tradition of his previous books, such as "American Hardcore" and "Lost Rockers: Broken Dreams and Crashed Careers." Even if you start out as the underdog, the world -- and particularly New York City -- is full of endless possibilities for you to find your own unique path. To understand Blush's perspective, it is crucial to consider that Blush grew up in New J ...
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Huffington Post article
Finally! Occupy Wall Street's One Demand is Revealed
Huffington Post - 6 months
And, it's a good one - an invitation to join with a significant number of the original Occupiers and their supporters on Saturday, September 7 (S17) and celebrate Occupy's fifth anniversary in NYC's Zuccotti Park. There is a good reason for a large number of Occupiers to be on hand. According to the Media Outreach Team for the OWS S17 Planning Assembly, many will be there that day to recreate the Occupy experience for activists, community organizers, visitors, tourists, historians, authors and expected media representatives. Few people realize that Zuccotti Park was carefully divided into 'neighborhoods.' It had sleeping and cooking areas, a medical unit and fully-stocked library, a drum circle, information booth, a spiritual zone, communications center and more. Each of these areas will be staffed by Occupy volunteers who will interact with visitors and members of the press. According to their Public Service Announcement, this will not be an attempt to re-occupy Zuccot ...
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Huffington Post article
Do You Read Terms Of Service Contracts? Not Many Do, Research Shows
NPR - 6 months
During an experiment, people consented to sharing their private information with the NSA, and to surrendering their first-born as payment for access to a fictitious social networking site.
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NPR article
Metallica returns with 'Hardwired...To Self-Destruct'
LATimes - 6 months
Metallica  has returned with its first new album since 2008. The veteran group announced “Hardwired...To Self-Destruct,” its first non-collaborative record since 2008’s “Death Magnetic.” The band’s last LP was a head-scratcher of a collaborative concept album, 2011’s “Lulu,” with the late Lou Reed....
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LATimes article
Cockroach Milk: Yes. You Read That Right
NPR - 7 months
Turns out, cockroach milk is among the most nutritious substances on Earth. But it may still be a while before you can scurry to health stores for roach-milk protein shakes.
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NPR article
Honoring Rock 'n' Roll Street Poet Lou Reed
Wall Street Journal - 7 months
At “The Bells: A Daylong Celebration of Lou Reed,” musicians, actors and other artists paid homage to the singer-composer.
Article Link:
Wall Street Journal article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Lou Reed
  • 2013
    On September 4, 2013, Reed and Mick Rock were interviewed, in Soho, by Mark Beaumont of the New Musical Express about their new joint photobook Transformers.
    More Details Hide Details It was to be Reed's last interview. Talking of his time with the Velvet Underground, he said: "Every single one of us there was coming from a university and wanting to do something magnificent. We weren’t there to make money or be pretty or get laid. We were trying to create a diamond. We wanted to make heaven on Earth. We wanted to explode the whole thing, the Exploding Plastic Inevitable. Anyway, Warhol heard us and he got it right off. There wasn’t a chance of it being commercial but for certain kind of people it was extraordinary. We really, really tried, every single album. We’re not just a bunch of fucking assholes from the street making god knows what kind of music – that’s not it. We were really serious. Just because we’re in jeans and all the rest of it doesn’t mean... y’know, read the lyrics. Cale is one of the greatest instrumental players in the world ever. Maureen Tucker’s drumming – to this day no-one can match the originality of it."
    On December 16, 2013, UK's BBC Four broadcast Lou Reed Remembered, an hour-long tribute with contributions from friends and colleagues.
    More Details Hide Details The following day, a memorial featuring friends and collaborators of Reed was held at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Organized by Laurie Anderson, the event included performances by Patti Smith, Antony Hegarty, Debbie Harry, Paul Simon, John Zorn, Philip Glass, and Maureen Tucker, to name a few. Exactly one year after the BBC Four tribute broadcast, Reed's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist was announced on December 16, 2014. He was inducted by Patti Smith at a ceremony in Cleveland on April 18, 2015.
    Afterwards, on his website, he wrote of feeling "bigger and stronger" than ever, but on October 27, 2013, he died from liver disease at his home in Southampton, New York, at the age of 71.
    More Details Hide Details David Byrne, Laurie Anderson, Patti Smith, David Bowie, Morrissey, Iggy Pop, Courtney Love, Lenny Kravitz, Miley Cyrus, Samuel L. Jackson, Kanye West, Ricky Gervais, Ryan Adams, Elijah Wood, Howard Stern and many others paid tribute to Reed. Pearl Jam dedicated their song "Man of the Hour" to Reed at their show in Baltimore and then played "I'm Waiting for the Man". On the day of his death, the Killers dedicated their rendition of "Pale Blue Eyes" to Reed at the Life Is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas. Phish opened their show in Hartford with "Rock & Roll", after which Trey Anastasio asked the audience for a moment of silence for one of the "greatest artists to ever live". Former Velvet Underground members Maureen Tucker and John Cale made statements on Reed's death, and notables from far outside the music industry paid their respects on Twitter, including Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi and Salman Rushdie.
    In May 2013, Reed underwent a liver transplant at the Cleveland Clinic.
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  • 2012
    In 2012, a bilingual (French and English) book Lou Reed: Rimes/Rhymes was published with a compilation of more than 300 photos of Reed, with comments from co-author Bernard Comment.
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    Reed contributed vocals to the track "The Wanderlust" on Metric's 2012 album Synthetica.
    More Details Hide Details He was a well-known supporter of the Free Tibet movement.
    In January 2012, Reed and John Cale sued the Andy Warhol Foundation for the license to use the yellow banana image from Warhol's art for The Velvet Underground & Nico album.
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  • 2011
    In 2011 Reed performed a cover of the Buddy Holly song "Peggy Sue", which is featured on the 2011 tribute album Rave On Buddy Holly.
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    In 2011, the American heavy metal band Metallica recorded a full-length collaboration album with Reed entitled Lulu, released on November 1 in North America and October 31 everywhere else.
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  • 2010
    In 2010 Reed also appeared in Stephan Berwick's short film "Final Weapon".
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  • 2009
    He was a featured performer at the JFA's annual benefit "A Great Night in Harlem" in May 2009.
    More Details Hide Details Reed remained active doing benefits and composing music. He contributed vocals to the third Gorillaz album, Plastic Beach, on the song "Some Kind Of Nature", and co-wrote and performed backup music for a chen-style t'ai chi instructional DVD. Reed also co-produced and created original music for a tai chi series entitled Power and Serenity. He had a co-production credit on Laurie Anderson's Homeland.
    In 2009, Reed became an active member of the Jazz Foundation of America (JFA).
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    Reed provided the voice of Maltazard, the villain in the 2009 Luc Besson animated film Arthur and the Vengeance of Maltazard, and played himself in Wim Wenders' movie Palermo Shooting (2008).
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    At Lollapalooza, held in Chicago's Grant Park, Reed played "Sweet Jane" and "White Light/White Heat" with Metallica at Madison Square Garden as part of the twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on October 30, 2009.
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    The trio played further shows at New York's Gramercy Theater in April 2009, and appeared as part of Reed's band at the 2009 Lollapalooza, including a ten-minute free trio improvisation.
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  • 2008
    On October 2 and 3, 2008, he premiered his new group, which was later named Metal Machine Trio, at REDCAT (Walt Disney Concert Hall Complex, Los Angeles).
    More Details Hide Details The live recordings of the concerts were released under the title The Creation of the Universe. The trio featured Ulrich Krieger (saxophone) and Sarth Calhoun (electronics), and played free improvised instrumental music inspired by Reed's 1975 album Metal Machine Music. The music ranges from ambient soundscapes to free rock to contemporary noise.
    On October 1, 2008, Reed joined Richard Barone via projected video on a spoken/sung duet of Reed's "I'll Be Your Mirror" with cellist Jane Scarpantoni, in Barone's FRONTMAN: A Musical Reading at Carnegie Hall.
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    They married on April 12, 2008.
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  • 2007
    In October 2007, Reed gave a special performance in the Recitement song "Passengers".
    More Details Hide Details The album combines music with spoken word, and was composed by Stephen Emmer and produced by Tony Visconti. Hollandcentraal was inspired by this piece of music and literature, which spawned a concept for a music video.
    In August 2007, Reed went into the studio with the Killers in New York City to record "Tranquilize," a duet with Brandon Flowers for the Killers' B-side/rarities album, called Sawdust.
    More Details Hide Details During that month, he also recorded guitar for the Lucibel Crater song "Threadbare Funeral" which appears on their album The Family Album.
    In June 2007, he performed live at the Traffic Festival 2007 in Turin, Italy, a five-day free event organized by the city.
    More Details Hide Details That same month saw the re-release of Reed's and The Underground's Pale Blue Eyes, as part of the soundtrack of the French-language film, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (imdb.com).
    In May 2007, Reed performed the narration for a screening of Guy Maddin's silent film The Brand Upon the Brain.
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    In April 2007, he released Hudson River Wind Meditations, a record of ambient meditation music.
    More Details Hide Details It was released on the Sounds True record label and its four tracks were said to have been composed just for himself as a guidance for t'ai chi exercise and meditation.
  • 2006
    In December 2006, Reed played a first series of show at St. Ann's Warehouse, Brooklyn, based on his 1973 Berlin song cycle.
    More Details Hide Details Reed was reunited on stage with guitarist Steve Hunter, who played on the original album as well as on Rock 'n' Roll Animal, as well as joined by singers Anohni and Sharon Jones, pianist Rupert Christie, a horn and string section and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. The show was produced by Bob Ezrin, who also produced the original album, and Hal Willner. The stage was designed by his neighbor and best friend, painter Julian Schnabel, and a film about protagonist "Caroline" directed by his daughter, Lola Schnabel, was projected to the stage. A live recording of these concerts was also published as a film (directed by Schnabel) which was released in 2008. The show was also played at the Sydney Festival in January 2007 and throughout Europe during June and July 2007. The album version of the concert, entitled Berlin: Live At St. Ann's Warehouse, was released in 2008.
    In October 2006, Reed appeared at Hal Willner's Leonard Cohen tribute show "Came So Far For Beauty" in Dublin, beside the cast of Laurie Anderson, Nick Cave, Anohni, Jarvis Cocker, Beth Orton, and others.
    More Details Hide Details According to the reports, he played a heavy metal version of Cohen's "The Stranger Song." He also performed "One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong" and two duets — "Joan of Arc" with Cohen's former back-up singer Julie Christensen, and "Memories" with Anjani Thomas.
    At the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards, Reed performed "White Light/White Heat" with the Raconteurs.
    More Details Hide Details Later in the night, while co-presenting the award for Best Rock Video with Pink, he exclaimed, apparently unscripted, that "MTV should be playing more rock n' roll."
    In January 2006, a second book of photographs, Lou Reed's New York, was released.
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  • 2005
    In 2005, Reed recorded a spoken word text on Danish rock band Kashmir's album No Balance Palace.
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  • 2004
    Also in 2004, Reed contributed vocals and guitar to the track "Fistful of Love" on I Am a Bird Now by Antony and the Johnsons.
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    In 2004, a Groovefinder remix of his song "Satellite of Love", called "Satellite of Love '04", was released.
    More Details Hide Details It reached No. 10 in the UK singles chart.
  • 2003
    After Hours: a Tribute to the Music of Lou Reed was released by Wampus Multimedia in 2003.
    More Details Hide Details Reed was also a judge that year for the third annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.
    In 2003, Reed released his first book of photographs, Emotions in Action.
    More Details Hide Details This work was made up out of two books, a larger A4-paper sized called Emotions and a smaller one called Actions which was laid into the hard cover of the former.
    In April 2003, Reed embarked on a new world tour supporting both new and released material, with a band including cellist Jane Scarpantoni and singer Anohni.
    More Details Hide Details During some of the concerts for this tour, the band was joined by Master Ren Guangyi, Reed's personal t'ai chi instructor, performing t'ai chi movements to the music on stage. This tour was documented in the 2004 live double album Animal Serenade, recorded at the Wiltern in Los Angeles.
    In 2003, he released a 2-CD set, The Raven, based on "Poe-Try".
    More Details Hide Details In 2011, he transformed the CD into an illustrated book, with art by Lorenzo Mattotti, published by Fantagraphics. Besides Reed and his band, the album featured actors and musicians including singers David Bowie, Laurie Anderson, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, the Blind Boys of Alabama and Anohni, saxophonist Ornette Coleman, and actors Elizabeth Ashley, Christopher Walken, Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe, Amanda Plummer, Fisher Stevens and Kate Valk. The album consisted of songs written by Reed and spoken-word performances of reworked and rewritten texts of Edgar Allan Poe by the actors, set to electronic music composed by Reed. At the same time a single disc CD version of the album, focusing on the music, was also released. A few months after the release of The Raven, a new 2-CD Best Of-set was released, entitled NYC Man (The Ultimate Collection 1967-2003), which featured an unreleased version of the song "Who am I" and a selection of career-spanning tracks that had been selected, remastered and sequenced under Reed's supervision.
  • 2001
    Incorrect reports of Reed's death were broadcast by numerous U.S. radio stations in 2001, caused by a hoax email (purporting to be from Reuters) which said he had died of a drug overdose.
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    On October 6, 2001, the New York Times published a Reed poem called Laurie Sadly Listening in which he reflects upon the September 11 attacks.
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    In 2001, Reed made a cameo appearance in the movie adaptation of Prozac Nation.
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  • 2000
    In May 2000, Reed performed before Pope John Paul II at the Great Jubilee Concert in Rome.
    More Details Hide Details In 2000, a new collaboration with Robert Wilson called "POEtry" was staged at the Thalia Theater in Germany. As with the previous collaboration "Time Rocker," "POEtry" was also inspired by the works of a 19th-century writer: Edgar Allan Poe. Reed became interested in Poe after producer Hal Willner suggested he read some of Poe's text at a Halloween benefit he was curating at St. Ann's Episcopal Church in Brooklyn. For this new collaboration, Reed reworked and rewrote some of Poe's text and included some new songs based on the theme explored in the texts.
    Reed was nominated for the Rock Hall as a solo artist thrice, in 2000, 2001 and 2015 and was chosen to be inducted at the April 18, 2015 ceremony in Cleveland.
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  • 1999
    In 1999, the film and Reed as its subject received a Grammy Award for best long-form music video.
    More Details Hide Details Since the late 1990s, Reed was romantically linked to the musician, multi-media and performance artist Laurie Anderson, and the two collaborated on a number of recordings together. Anderson contributed to "Call On Me" from Reed's project The Raven, to the tracks "Baton Rouge" and "Rock Minuet" from Reed's Ecstasy, and to "Hang On To Your Emotions" from Reed's Set the Twilight Reeling. Reed contributed to "In Our Sleep" from Anderson's Bright Red and to "One Beautiful Evening" from her Life on a String.
  • 1998
    In 1998, the PBS TV show American Masters aired Timothy Greenfield-Sanders' feature documentary Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart.
    More Details Hide Details This film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. and at the Berlin International Film Festival in Germany went on to screen at over 50 festivals worldwide.
  • 1996
    In 1996, Reed contributed songs and music to Time Rocker, an avant-garde theatrical interpretation of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine staged by theater director Robert Wilson.
    More Details Hide Details The piece premiered in the Thalia Theater, Hamburg, Germany, and was later also shown at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York.
    His 1996 album, Set the Twilight Reeling, and 2000's Ecstasy, both produced by Hal Willner, drew praise from most critics.
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  • 1994
    In 1994, Reed appeared in A Celebration: The Music of Pete Townshend and The Who, also known as Daltrey Sings Townshend.
    More Details Hide Details This was a two-night concert at Carnegie Hall produced by Roger Daltrey in celebration of his fiftieth birthday. In 1994, a CD and a VHS video were issued, and in 1998 a DVD was released. Reed performed a radically rearranged version of "Now And Then" from Psychoderelict. In 1996, the Velvet Underground were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. At the induction ceremony, Reed performed a song entitled "Last Night I Said Goodbye to My Friend" alongside former bandmates John Cale and Maureen Tucker, in dedication to Velvet Underground guitarist Sterling Morrison, who had died the previous August.
  • 1992
    Reed released his sixteenth solo record, Magic and Loss, in 1992, an album about mortality, inspired by the death of two close friends from cancer.
    More Details Hide Details In 1993, the Velvet Underground again reunited and toured throughout Europe, although plans for a North American tour were cancelled following another falling out between Reed and Cale.
  • 1987
    Following Warhol's death after routine surgery in 1987, Reed again collaborated with John Cale on the biographical Songs for Drella (1990), Warhol's nickname.
    More Details Hide Details The album marked an end to a 22-year estrangement from Cale. On the album, Reed sings of his love for his late friend, and criticizes both the doctors who were unable to save Warhol's life and Warhol's would-be assassin, Valerie Solanas. In 1990, following a twenty-year hiatus, the Velvet Underground reformed for a Fondation Cartier benefit in France.
  • 1986
    In June 1986, Reed released Mistrial (co-produced with Fernando Saunders), a more commercial album than previous records.
    More Details Hide Details To support the release, he released two music videos: "No Money Down" and "The Original Wrapper". At the same time of Mistrials release, he joined Amnesty International's A Conspiracy of Hope Tour and was outspoken about New York's political issues and personalities. He would later use this experience on the 1989 album New York, commenting on crime, AIDS, Jesse Jackson, Kurt Waldheim, and Pope John Paul II.
  • 1985
    On September 22, 1985, Reed performed at the first Farm Aid concert in Champaign, Illinois.
    More Details Hide Details He performed "Doin' The Things That We Want To", "I Love You, Suzanne", "New Sensations" and "Walk on The Wild Side" as his solo set, later playing bass for Roy Orbison during his set.
  • 1980
    The newspaper went on to note that, in 1980, "Reed renounced druggy theatrics, even swore off intoxicants themselves, and became openly heterosexual, openly married."
    More Details Hide Details In the early 1980s, Reed worked with a number of innovative guitarists including Chuck Hammer and Robert Quine. Hammer appeared on Growing Up in Public (1980) and Quine appeared on The Blue Mask (1982) and Legendary Hearts (1983).
    While together, Morales inspired Reed to write several songs, particularly "Think It Over" from 1980's Growing Up in Public and "Heavenly Arms" from 1982's The Blue Mask with bassist Fernando Saunders.
    More Details Hide Details After Legendary Hearts (1983) and New Sensations (1984) fared adequately on the charts, Reed was sufficiently reestablished as a public figure to become spokesman for Honda motorcycles. The New York Times reported in 1998 on Reed's change from the 1970s to the 1980s. The Times observed that, in the 1970s, Reed had a distinctive persona: "Back then he was publicly gay, pretended to shoot heroin onstage, and cultivated a 'Dachau panda' look, with cropped peroxide hair and black circles painted under his eyes."
    In 1980, Reed married British designer Sylvia Morales.
    More Details Hide Details They were divorced more than a decade later.
  • 1977
    Reed and Patti Smith both worked at Record Plant in 1977 at the same time, each trying to complete albums.
    More Details Hide Details Bruce Springsteen was also at the studio working on finishing his Darkness on the Edge of Town album.
  • 1976
    While Rock and Roll Heart, his 1976 debut for his new record label Arista, fell short of expectations, Street Hassle (1978) was a return to form in the midst of the punk scene he had helped to inspire.
    More Details Hide Details Reed was dismissive of punk, and rejected any affiliation with it. "I'm too literate to be into punk rock... The whole CBGB's, new Max's thing that everyone's into and what's going on in London—you don't seriously think I'm responsible for what's mostly rubbish?" In 1978 Reed released his third live album, Live: Take No Prisoners, which some critics thought was his "bravest work yet," while others considered it his "silliest." Rolling Stone described it as "one of the funniest live albums ever recorded with Lou's dark-humored, Lenny Bruce-like monologues." Reed felt it was his best album: The Bells (1979) featured jazz musician Don Cherry, and was followed the next year by Growing Up in Public with guitarist Chuck Hammer. Around this period he also appeared as a sleazy record producer in Paul Simon's film One Trick Pony. Reed also played several unannounced one-off concerts in tiny downtown Manhattan clubs with the likes of Cale, Patti Smith, and David Byrne during this period.
  • 1975
    By contrast, 1975's Coney Island Baby was mainly a warm and mellow album, though for its characters Reed still drew on the underbelly of city life.
    More Details Hide Details At this time his lover was a transgender woman, Rachel, mentioned in the dedication of "Coney Island Baby" and appearing in the photos on the cover of Reed's 1977 "best of" album, Walk on the Wild Side: The Best of Lou Reed.
    As he had done with Berlin after Transformer, in 1975 Reed responded to commercial success with a commercial failure, a double album of electronically generated audio feedback, Metal Machine Music.
    More Details Hide Details Critics interpreted it as a gesture of contempt, an attempt to break his contract with RCA or to alienate his less sophisticated fans. Reed claimed that the album was a genuine artistic effort, even suggesting that quotations of classical music could be found buried in the feedback. Lester Bangs declared it "genius", though also psychologically disturbing. The album was reportedly returned to stores by the thousands after a few weeks. Though later admitting that the liner notes' list of instruments is fictitious and intended as parody, Reed continued to maintain that MMM was a serious album; though at the time he had taken it seriously, he was also "very stoned". In the 2000s it was adapted for orchestral performance by the German ensemble Zeitkratzer.
    Rock 'n' Roll Animal, and its follow-up released in early 1975 Lou Reed Live, primarily featuring live Transformer material, were both recorded at the same show (Academy Of Music, NYC December 21, 1973), and kept Reed in the public eye with strong sales. (The later expanded CD version of Rock 'n' Roll Animal taken together with Lou Reed Live are the entirety of the show that night, although not in the running order it was performed.)
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  • 1974
    He wrote about the experience in his 1974 song, "Kill Your Sons".
    More Details Hide Details In an interview, Reed said of the experience:
  • 1972
    Reed hired an inexperienced bar band, the Tots, and spent much of 1972 and early 1973 on the road with them.
    More Details Hide Details Though they improved over the months, criticism of their still-basic abilities ultimately led Reed to fire them mid-tour. He chose keyboardist Moogy Klingman to come up with a new five-member backing band on barely a week's notice. Thus the tour continued with a denser, bluesier and tighter sound that presaged the very successful live albums Reed would record with all different musicians in December. Reed followed Transformer with the darker Berlin. Berlin is a concept album about two junkies in love in the city. The songs variously concern domestic abuse ("Caroline Says I," "Caroline Says II"), drug addiction ("How Do You Think It Feels"), adultery and prostitution ("The Kids"), and suicide ("The Bed"). Reed's late-1973 European tour, featuring dual lead guitarists Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner, mixed his Berlin material with older numbers. Response to Berlin at the time of its release was decidedly negative, with Rolling Stone pronouncing it "a disaster". Since then the album has been critically reevaluated, and in 2003 Rolling Stone included it in their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
    Reed's breakthrough album, Transformer, was released in November 1972.
    More Details Hide Details Transformer was co-produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson, and it introduced Reed to a wider audience, especially in the UK. The hit single "Walk on the Wild Side" was an ironic yet affectionate salute to the misfits and hustlers who once surrounded Andy Warhol. When first introduced to Reed's music, Bowie had said, "I had never heard anything quite like it. It was a revelation to me." Each of the song's five verses poignantly describes a person who had been a fixture at The Factory during the mid-to-late 1960s: (1) Holly Woodlawn, (2) Candy Darling, (3) "Little Joe" Dallesandro, (4) "Sugar Plum Fairy" Joe Campbell and (5) Jackie Curtis. The song's transgressive lyrics evaded radio censorship. Though the jazzy arrangement (courtesy of bassist Herbie Flowers and saxophonist Ronnie Ross) was musically somewhat atypical for Reed, it eventually became his signature song. It came about as a result of a commission to compose a soundtrack to a theatrical adaptation of Nelson Algren's novel of the same name, though the play failed to materialize. Ronson's arrangements brought out new aspects of Reed's songs. "Perfect Day," for example, features delicate strings and soaring dynamics. It was rediscovered in the 1990s and allowed Reed to drop "Walk on the Wild Side" from his concerts.
  • 1971
    In 1971, he signed a recording contract with RCA Records and recorded his first solo album in London with top session musicians including Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman, members of the progressive rock group Yes.
    More Details Hide Details The album, Lou Reed, contained smoothly produced versions of unreleased Velvet Underground songs, some of which had originally been recorded by the Velvets for Loaded but shelved (see the Peel Slowly and See box set). This first solo album was overlooked by most pop music critics and it did not sell well, although music critic Stephen Holden, in Rolling Stone, called it an "almost perfect album.... which embodied the spirit of the Velvets." Holden describes Reed's unique qualities, in both his voice and lyrics, in the album:
  • 1970
    After quitting the Velvet Underground in August 1970, Reed took a job at his father's tax accounting firm as a typist, by his own account earning $40 a week.
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    Reed left the band in August 1970 and briefly retired to his parents' home on Long Island.
    More Details Hide Details The band disintegrated as core members Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker departed in 1971. Yule continued until early 1973, and one more studio album, Squeeze, was released under the Velvet Underground name.
  • 1968
    By the time the band recorded White Light/White Heat, Nico had quit and Warhol had been fired, both against Cale's wishes. Warhol's replacement as manager was Steve Sesnick. In 1968, Cale left the band at Reed's behest.
    More Details Hide Details Morrison and Tucker were discomfited by Reed's tactics but continued with the group. Cale's replacement was Boston-based musician Doug Yule, who played bass, keyboards and who would soon share lead vocal duties in the band with Reed. The group now took on a more pop-oriented sound and acted more as a vehicle for Reed to develop his songwriting craft. The group released two albums with this lineup: 1969's The Velvet Underground and 1970's Loaded. The latter included two of the group's most commercially successful songs, "Rock and Roll" and "Sweet Jane". After the band's move to Atlantic Records' Cotillion label, their new manager pushed Reed to change the subject matter of his songs to lighter topics in hopes of commercial success. Loaded had taken more time to record than the previous three albums together, but had not broken them through to a wider audience.
  • 1964
    In 1964, he wrote and recorded the single "The Ostrich", a parody of popular dance songs of the time, which included lines such as "put your head on the floor and have somebody step on it".
    More Details Hide Details His employers felt that the song had hit potential, and arranged for a band to be assembled around Reed to promote the recording. The ad hoc group, called "The Primitives", included Welsh musician John Cale, who had recently moved to New York to study music and was playing viola in composer La Monte Young's Theatre of Eternal Music, along with Tony Conrad. Cale and Conrad were both surprised to find that for "The Ostrich", Reed tuned each string of his guitar to the same note, which they began to call his "ostrich guitar" tuning. This technique created a drone effect similar to their experimentation in Young's avant-garde ensemble. Disappointed with Reed's performance, Cale was nevertheless impressed by Reed's early repertoire (including "Heroin"), and a partnership began to evolve. Reed and Cale (who would play viola, keyboards and bass) lived together on the Lower East Side, and invited Reed's college acquaintance guitarist Sterling Morrison and Cale's neighbour drummer Angus MacLise to join the group, thus forming the Velvet Underground. When the opportunity came to play their first paying gig at Summit High School in Summit, New Jersey, MacLise quit because he believed that accepting money for art was a sellout and also did not want to participate in a structured gig. He was replaced on drums by Maureen Tucker, initially for that one show, but she soon became a full-time member with her pounding style of drumming an integral part of the band's distinctive sound, despite the initial objections of Cale.
    In 1964, Reed moved to New York City and began working as an in-house songwriter for Pickwick Records.
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    Reed graduated with honors from Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences with a B.A. in English in June 1964.
    More Details Hide Details While enrolled at Syracuse University, he studied under poet Delmore Schwartz, who he said was "the first great person I ever met", and they became friends. He credited Schwartz with showing him how "with the simplest language imaginable, and very short, you can accomplish the most astonishing heights." One of Reed's fellow students at Syracuse in the early 60's (who also studied under Schwartz) was the musician Garland Jeffreys; they remained close friends until the end of Reed's life. Jeffreys once offered the following recollection of Schwartz and Reed during Reed's time at Syracuse: "At four in the afternoon we'd all meet at bar The Orange Grove. Me, Delmore and Lou. That would often be the center of the crew. And Delmore was the leader - our quiet leader." While at Syracuse, Reed was also introduced to heroin for the first time. He once commented: "I had recently been introduced to heroin by a mashed-in-face negro named 'Jaw'. Jaw gave me hepatitis immediately, which is pathetic and laughable at once." While at Syracuse, Reed also met fellow guitar-playing student Sterling Morrison, who would later play with Reed in the Velvet Underground. While Morrison wasn't attending Syracuse at the time, he made Reed's acquaintance while he was visiting mutual friend Jim Tucker, the older brother of Velvet Underground drummer Maureen Tucker who happened to be attending school there. Reed would later dedicate the song "European Son", from the Velvet Underground's debut album, to his teacher Delmore Schwartz.
  • 1961
    In 1961, he began hosting a late-night radio program on WAER called Excursions On A Wobbly Rail.
    More Details Hide Details Named after a song by pianist Cecil Taylor, the program typically featured doo wop, rhythm and blues and jazz, particularly the free jazz developed in the mid-1950s. Many of Reed's guitar techniques, such as the guitar-drum roll, were inspired by jazz saxophonists, such as Ornette Coleman. Reed's sister Merryl offered the following recollection of her brother's time spent at Syracuse: "He started a band, he had his own radio show. He reportedly libeled some student on his radio show; the kid's family tried to sue my father. And there were other extracurricular possibly illegal activities of which the university didn't approve. I believe they tried to kick him out. But he was a genius; what could they do? He stayed and he graduated."
  • 1960
    Upon his recovery from the bout of illness and associated treatment, Reed resumed his education at Syracuse University in 1960, studying journalism, film directing, and creative writing.
    More Details Hide Details He was a platoon leader in ROTC and was later expelled from the program for holding an unloaded gun to his superior's head.
  • 1942
    Born on March 2, 1942.
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