Lou Reed Dead at 71 

Velvet underground front man now 6 feet underground.

click to enlarge 1577309.jpg

Lou Reed, founding member of the Velvet Underground and the man responsible for such seminal works as Transformer and Berlin, died on Oct. 27. He was 71. No details have been made available, but the singer, songwriter and guitarist underwent a liver transplant in May.

With the Velvet Underground, and particularly the debut The Velvet Underground & Nico, Reed helped redefine what it meant to be in a rock ’n’ roll band. Exemplary musicianship played second fiddle to mood, poetic lyrics and, thanks in part to Andy Warhol, a whole lot of style. The subject matter was dark and sensual, Reed balancing precariously on the line separating seedy and beauty.

As a solo artist, Reed enjoyed huge success with 1972’s Transformer, with singles like “Walk on the Wild Side” and “Satellite of Love.” The follow up, Berlin, was a far darker album, though some would say his best. The guitarist on that record was Detroit’s Dick Wagner, formerly of Frost and Alice Cooper’s band.

On his Facebook page Wagner says, “I just found out that Lou Reed has died. It brings me sadness, and nostalgia for a time spent playing his music and taking it to the large venues of Europe and America. Lou Reed was a brilliant songwriter and I enjoyed helping him bring his songs to a larger rock and roll audience. The rock ’n’ roll animal has passed, but in his recordings, you will find his true contribution to the continuum that is American music.”

Never one to take the easy option, Reed’s final record was 2011’s much-maligned Lulu, an album that saw him team up with thrash metal band Metallica and create some typically awkward, uncomfortably difficult music. As a swan song, for that reason alone, it’s perfect.

 

Brett Callwood is music and culture editor at the Metro Times. Send comments to bcallwood@metrotimes.com.

Tags:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

June 9, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation