Rock legend Lou Reed is dead at 71
The music of Lou Reed and his band the Velvet Underground was so far ahead of its time that the extent of influence wasn’t widely acknowledged for more than a decade after the group’s demise. It wasn’t until bands such as R.E.M. and U2 achieved commercial success in the ’80s that the Velvets’ effect and importance to the underground, alternative, indie music scenes was truly appreciated. Reed, who underwent a liver transplant earlier this year, died at age 71, according to multiple media reports.
Reed, of course, pushed on for decades as a solo artist following his band’s breakup in the early 1970s. His solo career was at times brilliant or maddening. But those years with the Velvet Underground were incredible. While the 1967 debut album, The Velvet Underground and Nico, was hailed as groundbreaking, the release was just the beginning. The studio albums White Light/White Heat, The Velvet Underground and Loaded, and a pair of early live releases also were masterpieces of experimental, raw, gritty, boundary-crossing, hyper-aggressive music. The band is truly one of the most important in the history of rock music and Reed is among a handful of individuals that honestly deserves the label legend.
Here’s a clip from the early ’90s Velvets reunion.