Lou Reed, the iconic singer-songwriter and early punk rock pioneer, has passed away on October 27 at the age of 71.
“Americans don’t care too much for beauty
they’ll shit in a river, dump battery acid in a stream
They’ll watch dead rats wash up on the beach
and complain if they can’t swim.” -Lou Reed, ‘Last Great American Whale’
Flixnerd doesn’t cover music. But Lou Reed was different. His gravelly, monotone style of singing brought to life lyrics that painted an often dark picture of strange human behavior.
His music painted a picture of New York and it’s populace that was like listening to an aural version of a Scorsese film. Dark, truthful, and almost depressingly perceptive lyrics wrapped themselves around his music to tell us stories about ourselves.
From “Sweet Jane,” “Dirty Boulevard,” and “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” to his less-mainstream work, Reed was a voice of realistic poetry in an industry that too-often focuses on vapid lyrics and catchy beats.
One of the founding members of The Velvet Underground, Andy Warhol’s “house band” and musical project, Reed emerged early on as a musical innovator unafraid to take commercial risks if it meant staying true to his creative voice.
“Give me your hungry, your tired your poor I’ll piss on ’em
That’s what the Statue of Bigotry says
Your poor huddled masses, let’s club ’em to death
And get it over with and just dump ’em on the boulevard” -from ‘Dirty Boulevard’
There are musicians. Then there are the influential artists whose medium is music, that inspire other artists to make music. Lou Reed was the latter.
Skip the YouTube. Put on some headphones and listen to Lou Reed. Listen as he paints a picture in your mind.
From the perverse to the profound, Lou Reed’s gift was in creeping into your imagination and describing a world which many of us will never experience.
There is a terrific article from Mike Barnes with ‘The Hollywood Reporter‘ about Reed.
Click below for ‘The Essential Lou Reed’ available on iTunes and check out this legendary musical talent for yourself.