Lou Reed, a guitarist and songwriter who was a founding member of The Velvet Underground, died Sunday at the age of 71. WFUV DJ Eric Holland filed the following report for NY1.
Inarguably a gigantic figure in rock music, Lou Reed became synonymous with New York personifying its street smarts, experience, skepticism, and most of all, its cool.
He most often sang in a detached monotone. His songwriting was unflinching in its depiction of gritty city life full of drugs and sex.
Born in Brooklyn on March 2, 1942 – Lou was raised in Freeport, Long Island. As a teenager, he was subjected to electro-shock therapy to “cure” his homosexuality. He graduated Syracuse university in '64 and met John Cale in NYC where they hatched The Velvet Underground.
Soon The Velvets were featured in Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable multimedia events. In '67, while the summer of love flowered on the west coast, The Velvet Underground and Nico debut album came as from another world. It’s one of rock’s most essential and influential albums.
Reed left VU in 1970 and reeled off a string of enduring albums including Transformer in '72, & Rock n Roll Animal in '74.
New York was often characters in his songs. He immortalized the old factory crowd in Walk on the Wild Side, named a song and album Coney Island Baby, and sang of egg creams made in Brooklyn. In 1989, he devoted an entire disc to the city with the New York album.
With a keen eye and caustic wit Reed painted portraits of its inhabitants some fictional - some real.
In 1996 the Velvet Underground was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In '98 the documentary Lou Reed Rock and Roll Heart won a Grammy. Beginning in late 2006 he performed concerts featuring his 1973 album Berlin at St. Ann's warehouse in Brooklyn. That produced an album and film.
In 2011 he collaborated with Metallica on the "LuLu" album.
Reed underwent a liver transplant in May. His agent says he died of a liver ailment.
Lou Reed was 71.