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Also Known As: Lewis Allan Reed Died:
Born: Cause of Death:
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Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

ely negative, which exacerbated Reedâ¿¿s disillusionment with the music industry. His drug usage deepened during this period, eventually blossoming into a full-fledged addiction to heroin. Sensing, perhaps, that the public viewed him as a purveyor of decadence, he played to that image for much of the 1970s, miming heroin injections onstage while putting forth a combative persona in interviews. This confrontational attitude won him media attention and, for a time, a small but devoted following which helped to send his 1974 studio album Sally Canâ¿¿t Dance, and the live effort Rock n Roll Animal (1974) into the Top 50. RCA again pressured Reed to produce another hit album, which resulted in Metal Machine Music (1975), a record comprised entirely of grinding feedback and guitar effects. Viewed as a petulant attempt to close out his contract, the album, which was returned by the thousands to record stores by dismayed buyers, was later considered a forerunner of industrial music.Reed appeared revitalized at the end of the 1970s with a string of well-regarded rock albums, beginning with 1979â¿¿s The Bells. He appeared to abandon his rock 'n' roll animal persona for a more thoughtful, sober approach, as...

ely negative, which exacerbated Reedâ¿¿s disillusionment with the music industry. His drug usage deepened during this period, eventually blossoming into a full-fledged addiction to heroin. Sensing, perhaps, that the public viewed him as a purveyor of decadence, he played to that image for much of the 1970s, miming heroin injections onstage while putting forth a combative persona in interviews. This confrontational attitude won him media attention and, for a time, a small but devoted following which helped to send his 1974 studio album Sally Canâ¿¿t Dance, and the live effort Rock n Roll Animal (1974) into the Top 50. RCA again pressured Reed to produce another hit album, which resulted in Metal Machine Music (1975), a record comprised entirely of grinding feedback and guitar effects. Viewed as a petulant attempt to close out his contract, the album, which was returned by the thousands to record stores by dismayed buyers, was later considered a forerunner of industrial music.

Reed appeared revitalized at the end of the 1970s with a string of well-regarded rock albums, beginning with 1979â¿¿s The Bells. He appeared to abandon his rock 'n' roll animal persona for a more thoughtful, sober approach, as evidenced by The Blue Mask (1982), which featured former Heartbreakers guitarist Robert Quine, and Legendary Hearts, both of which addressed issues of relationships, addiction and familial strife. By 1984, Reed even appeared upbeat, as evidenced by the joyous bounce of "I Love You, Suzanne" from his New Sensations LP. Some of the newfound positivity was due in part to his 1980 marriage to British designer Sylvia Morales. During this era, he briefly explored the world of acting, appearing in Paul Simon's "One-Trick Pony" (1980) and Allan Arkush's oddball rock comedy "Get Crazy" (1983). However, his true artistic and commercial comeback would be 1989â¿¿s New York, a brittle polemic assault on American and world woes couched in straightforward rock. Praised as his best album in over a decade, New York reached the Top 40 on the Billboard albums chart and preceded a lengthy string of exceptional record releases, including Songs for Drella (1990), a collaboration with John Cale that paid tribute to Andy Warhol following the artistâ¿¿s death in 1987. Their re-teaming was followed by a reunion of the original Velvet Underground lineup, a historic event that few music fans ever thought possible. A European tour followed in 1993 before old tensions between Reed and Cale brought the reunion to an end, dashing hopes for many American fans.

Reed then returned to his solo career, recording Magic and Loss (1992), a potent rumination on mortality inspired by the deaths of famed songwriter Doc Pomus and Kenneth Rapp, a former Factory habitué known as Rotten Rita who served as an inspiration for many of the figures in that potent group. Reed would appear onstage with Cale and Tucker one final time for their 1996 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where they performed a new composition, "Last Night I Said Goodbye to My Friend," which paid tribute to Sterling Morrison, who had died in 1995. He closed out the 1990s with a string of albums, from the uneven Set the Twilight Reeling (1996) to 2000⿿s Ecstasy (2000), which addressed the collapse of his marriage to Morales and subsequent relationship with artist Laurie Anderson. He also contributed to Robert Wilson⿿s "Time Rocker" (1996) a musical adaptation of The Time Machine, and participated in the Grammy-winning "Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart" (1998). The new millennium found Reed exploring the works of Edgar Allan Poe through a stage presentation with Robert Wilson called "Poe-Try" and later a two-CD album The Raven (2003), a collection of songs and spoken word efforts that featured his first recorded collaboration with David Bowie since Transformer as well as Ornette Coleman and actors Christopher Walken, Willem Dafoe and Steve Buscemi.

A world tour in 2003, which featured Reedâ¿¿s Tâ¿¿ai Chi instructor performing alongside him at certain concerts, was documented on the live CD Animal Serenade (2004). Two years later, he revived Berlin as a live stage show at St. Annâ¿¿s Warehouse in Brooklyn, NY which featured a stage design by painter Julian Schnabel and collaborations with singer Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons. A live concert film, directed by Schnabel, followed in 2008. Reed continued to explore and expand on his back catalog in 2008 as part of Metal Machine Trio, a free improvised group inspired by his Metal Machine Music album. He later surprised many by teaming with metal superstars Metallica, with whom he performed two of his solo numbers at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fameâ¿¿s 25th Anniversary Concert in 2009. The praise afforded this brief collaboration did not carry over to their full-length record, Lulu (2011), which was panned with a fury that echoed the response to Berlin. The following year, Reed and producer Hal Willner launched their own radio show, "New York Shuffle," on BBC Radioâ¿¿s 6 Music channel. Lou Reed underwent a liver transplant in May 2013, after canceling several concerts following the release of Lulu, including an appearance at the 2013 Coachella festival. He died on October 27, 2013.

By Paul Gaita

e few pop-friendly elements of its predecessor to adopt a largely abrasive experimental sound on par with the high volume, extended improvisations of their live performances. Reedâ¿¿s lyrical content continued its dalliance with trangressive themes, including botched surgery ("Lady Godivaâ¿¿s Operation"), methamphetamine use ("White Light/White Heat") and the 17-minute "Sister Ray," which concerned a drug-fueled orgy. Unsurprisingly, the record also stalled upon its release in early 1968. Frustrations over lack of recognition for their work, as well as creative differences, fueled Caleâ¿¿s departure from the group that same year; he was replaced by Doug Yule for their self-titled third album, a gentler, folk-driven affair that failed to break into the Billboard Top 200. By 1970, the band had been purged from the Verve roster, and an attempt to deliver a hit record for their new label, Atlantic, with Loaded, produced two of Reedâ¿¿s most enduring songs, "Sweet Jane" and the bracing "Rock and Roll," but no chart activity. Reed departed the group shortly before the recordâ¿¿s completion to lick his wounds while working at his fatherâ¿¿s accounting firm as a typist.

The following year, Reed signed with RCA Records for his self-titled solo debut, which was comprised largely of reworked Velvet songs, but the album received a chilly response from listeners. While recording the album in London, Reed met David Bowie, an unabashed fan of the Velvet Underground who co-produced Reed's next album, Transformer, with Mick Ronson, lead guitarist from Bowieâ¿¿s band, the Spiders from Mars. The record fused Reedâ¿¿s streetwise, hard rock sound with the growing glam movement that Bowie had spearheaded, and produced what was arguably Reedâ¿¿s signature song, "Walk on the Wild Side," a jazzy homage to five members of Warholâ¿¿s Factory that broke into the Top 20 on the U.S. singles chart. Another track from the album, the wistful "Perfect Day," would later enjoy both revived interest from its inclusion on the "Trainspotting" (1996) soundtrack and a 1997 re-recording for charity that featured an all-star lineup of musicians with Reed.

Unfortunately, the unexpected success of Transformer would be followed by a long period of commercial frustration and personal decline. RCA nearly canceled the release of his third solo album, Berlin (1973), a deeply tragic song cycle about a coupleâ¿¿s descent into drug addiction, depression and suicide. Though a Top 10 album in the U.K., critical response in America was savag

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
3.
 Prozac Nation (2004) Himself
5.
 Nico Icon (1995) Himself
6.
 Blue In The Face (1995) Himself
7.
 Faraway, So Close (1993) Himself
8.
 Damned in the U.S.A. (1991) Himself
10.
 Ballhaus Barmbek (1988)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1958:
Made recording debut with "Leave It For Me/So Blue" as member of vocal group the Jades
1961:
Hosted late-night radio program on Syracuse, NY station WAER called "Excursions On A Wobbly Rail"
1964:
Moved to New York City; began working as in-house songwriter for Pickwick Records
1964:
Formed rock band The Velvet Underground with John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Angus MacLise
1965:
Band managed by Andy Warhol; German singer Nico added to lineup as featured member
1967:
Released debut album <i>The Velvet Underground & Nico</i>
1968:
Released sophomore album <i>White Light/White Heat</i> after parting ways with Warhol and Nico
1970:
Quit The Velvet Underground; worked at his father's tax accounting firm as a typist
1972:
Released self-titled solo debut, consisting largely of re-recorded versions of unreleased Velvet Underground songs
1972:
Released second solo effort <i>Transformer</i>, co-produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson; featured singles "Walk on the Wild Side" and "Perfect Day"
1975:
Fifth album <i>Metal Machine Music</i> consists entirely of feedback and white noise
1980:
Made acting debut in "One Trick Pony," written by and starring Paul Simon
1990:
Collaborated with John Cale on biographical concept album <i>Songs for Drella</i>, a tribute to Andy Warhol
1990:
The Velvet Underground reunite at Fondation Cartier benefit in France
1996:
The Velvet Underground inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
1998:
Featured in "American Masters" (PBS) documentary "Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart"
2003:
Released double album <i>The Raven</i>, a collection of songs and spoken word pieces inspired by Edgar Allan Poe
2003:
Published book of photographs titled <i>Emotions in Action</i>
2006:
Revived 1973 album <i>Berlin</i> as a live stage show at St. Ann¿s Warehouse in Brooklyn, NY
2011:
Released <i>Lulu</i>, a collaboration with veteran metal band Metallica.
2012:
Premiered his "New York Scuffle" radio show on BBC Radio 6.
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Syracuse University: Syracuse , New York - 1960

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