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Legends of Rock: R.I.P rock icon Lou Reed

30 Oct

Sunday was not a perfect day after reading the news that legendary Velvet Underground frontman and solo artist Lou Reed passed away in Southampton New York.

Reed was 71 years old and had complications from a liver transplant.

I think that Reed is everything that would define the word cool and his thought-provoking lyrics tend to always linger in my head.

Reed  also was an influential guitarist.  An article published in The Guardian stated that Reed’s guitar tuning style coined the term ostrich guitar which meant he would tune all strings to one note.

He is best known for hits like Heroin from the 1967 debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico (Andy Warhol created the album cover showing a peel-off banana) as well as Sweet Jane from the 1970 album Loaded.

His solo hits include; Take a Walk on the Wild Side and Perfect Day from his 1972 album Transformer.

My interest in listening to Reed and The Velvet Underground was first triggered through hearing  R.E.M. cover his songs.

While R.E.M has covered many Reed songs throughout their albums, the Dead Letter Office album in particular covers a few with: There She Goes, Pale Blue Eye’s, and Femme Fatale.
I also remember in 1993 the group Cowboy Junkies covered Sweet Jane and it was a major hit that earned a lot of radio play.
In 1995 Duran Duran released a cover album called Thank You and they covered Reed’s Perfect Day which is  my favorite song by Reed.

The song is a simple masterpiece and my favorite line is:

“Just a perfect day, problems all left alone, weekenders on our own, It’s such fun.”

An article by Associated Press writer Hillel Italie put Reed’s influence in music best stating:

” Indie rock essentially begins in the 1960s with Reed and the Velvets; the punk, New Wave and alternative rock movements of the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s were all indebted to Reed, whose songs were covered by R.E.M., Nirvana, Patti Smith and countless others.”

I thank my favorite bands for triggering my interest in Reed’s music which was before my time.

Aside from his role as a pioneer in rock music, Reed’s creativity spans into photography and film projects. Further details into his other creative projects are on his official website.

There is also a B&W photo of Reed on the official site showing him with his fist up and I love the photo because it says it all. The caption above the photo said it was recently taken by photographer Jean Baptiste Mondino.

I’m grateful for the music and inspiration Reed left. He will always be a true rock legend with his smooth voice and conversational spoken word style delivery that makes you feel like your right there with him.

 

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