Lou Reed

28 Oct

Last night when I learned that Lou Reed died, I immediately felt a hole in the universe – the New York universe, the music universe, my little world. Sometimes you don’t realize that someone even made a dent in your life, even remotely made a difference. Until that moment you learn they are gone. Sure, I met him a lifetime ago. In recording studios, in clubs, at concerts…

Lou was all about New York. In his review of the 1989 album, New York, Robert Christgau in the Village Voice summed it up: ” … Lou carries on a New York conversation – all that’s missing is a disquisition on real estate.”

Singular. Indelible. Iconic. That would be who he was. Velvet Underground, Andy Warhol, Walk on the Wild Side, Sweet Jane, Rock and Roll. That he was prescient of the times to come? Absolutely. He made his own brand of rock ‘n’ roll by mixing meaningful lyrics, simple tunes, and performance that was more than just singing on a stage behind a mic. His music was honest. Just like the man.

“Never be affected by a trend.” (Lou Reed)

For me the quintessential Lou Reed song is Street Hassle. It’s got everything. Just like Lou’s beloved New York. On the live album Animal Serenade, Lou says: “I wanted to write a song that had a great monologue set to rock. Something that could have been written by William Burroughs, Hubert Selby, John Rechy, Tennessee Williams, Nelson Algren, maybe a little Raymond Chandler. You mix it all up and you have Street Hassle.”

Y’know that saying, “May you live in interesting times?” Well, Lou Reed made our times interesting.

LouReed.10.28.13.KarlWalter.GettyImages

Sources:
Robert Christgau quote: Village Voice
Lou Reed pic: Karl Walter/Getty Images – NOTE THE SILVER TELLY!
(All Tomorrow’s Parties in Los Angeles, at the Queen Mary on November 6, 2004)

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