Lou Reed

Born 2 March 1942. Died 27 October 2013.
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Jarvis Cocker tribute to Lou Reed

Jarvis takes a personal look back over the career of Lou Reed, who passed away recently.

Featured in BBC Music Clips


Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed (March 2, 1942 – October 27, 2013) was an American musician, singer, and songwriter. After serving as guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter of the Velvet Underground, his solo career spanned several decades.

The Velvet Underground was a commercial failure in the late 1960s, but the group gained a considerable cult following in the years since its demise and has gone on to become one of the most widely cited and influential bands of the era – hence Brian Eno's famous quote that while the Velvet Underground's debut album only sold 30,000 copies, "everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band."

After his departure from the group, Reed began a solo career in 1972. He had a hit the following year with "Walk on the Wild Side", but subsequently lacked the mainstream commercial success its chart status seemed to indicate. Reed was known for his distinctive deadpan voice, poetic lyrics and for pioneering and coining the term ostrich guitar tuning.

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BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Lulu

    Lulu 2011

    Reviewed by Ian Winwood
    Lou Reed and Metallica unite in compelling and contrary union.
  2. Review of Metal Machine Music: Re-mastered

    Metal Machine Music: Re-mastered 2010

    Reviewed by John Eyles
    A cult classic of challengingly complex sound collages.
  3. Review of Berlin: Live At St Ann's Warehouse

    Berlin: Live At St Ann's Warehouse 2008

    Reviewed by Michael Quinn
    There are magnificent moments contained within
  4. Review of Berlin

    Berlin 2007

    Reviewed by Helen Groom
    Lou Reed's masterpiece of misery is re-released in time for its debut performances.
  5. Review of Animal Serenade

    Animal Serenade 2004

    Reviewed by Cormac Heron
    'Animal Serenade' is an obvious homage to 'Rock 'n' Roll Animal' which was cut some...
  6. Review of Transformer

    Transformer 1972

    Reviewed by John Doran
    His 1972 classic wasn’t just preaching to the hipster rock underground.
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