When American rock critic Lester Bangs referred to as Lou Reed “a totally wicked pervert and pathetic loss of life dwarf… a liar, a wasted expertise, an artist regularly in flux, and a huckster promoting kilos of his personal flesh”, he was describing a hero.
Few artists within the historical past of rock’n’roll are as enigmatic as Lou Reed, and few have created a physique of labor as influential, erratic and controversial as Reed’s, first with seminal art-rock group The Velvet Underground after which as a solo artist.
Born Lewis Allen Reed in Brooklyn, New York on March 2, 1942, he was all the time an outsider. As a young person he was subjected to electro-shock remedy meant to ‘treatment’ homosexuality. In his early 20s he dropped out of college to work as a employees songwriter at Pickwick Data the place he wrote novelty pop songs, fully at odds together with his love of experimental jazz.
It was at Pickwick that Reed met Welsh classically skilled musician John Cale. The pair fashioned a band referred to as The Warlocks, which by 1965 had mutated into The Velvet Underground, comprising Reed on guitar and vocals, Cale on bass, viola and organ, Sterling Morrison on second guitar and Maureen ‘Moe’ Tucker on drums.
The Velvets have been a band out of time. Their debut album, launched in 1967, was the antithesis of the Summer time Of Love’s hippie idealism. Their lo-fi sonics and Reed’s darkish lyrics proved too uncompromising for mass consumption, however the Velvets’ affect would carry over generations, from David Bowie to punk rock and past. It was Bowie who helped Reed obtain his breakthrough success as a solo artist, co-producing 1972’s Transformer, the album that featured two of Reed’s best-loved songs: Stroll On The Wild Aspect and Excellent Day. However pop stardom didn’t swimsuit Lou Reed, and in 1975 he tried profession suicide with Metallic Machine Music, an album comprised solely of guitar suggestions.
This maverick streak runs all through Reed’s profession, as evidenced by his remaining two albums: the ambient electronica of 2007’s Hudson River Wind Meditations, and the unlikely collaboration with Metallica on 2011’s Lulu. But it surely’s with a guitar in hand that Lou Reed created his definitive work as a basic rock’n’roll anti-hero: the outsider, in black leather-based and shades, the unique poster boy for heroin stylish, the straight-talking poet laureate of New York Metropolis.
And one to keep away from…