One of the greats is gone. Singer, songwriter, guitarist, poet, and artist Lou Reed has died. Reed underwent a liver transplant in May. He was 71. Update: He died of liver disease, report the New York Times and other sources.
From Rolling Stone's obituary, the first report online:
With the Velvet Underground in the late Sixties, Reed fused street-level urgency with elements of European avant-garde music, marrying beauty and noise, while bringing a whole new lyrical honesty to rock & roll poetry. As a restlessly inventive solo artist, from the Seventies into the 2010s, he was chameleonic, thorny and unpredictable, challenging his fans at every turn. Glam, punk and alternative rock are all unthinkable without his revelatory example. "One chord is fine," he once said, alluding to his bare-bones guitar style. "Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you're into jazz."
Our friends at Dangerous Minds blog have some great posts about Reed's work over the years, including the story of Rachel, a trans woman who inspired much of the work on his album "Coney Island Baby."
Video: "Black Angel's Death Song," Velvet Underground.
Video: "Walk On The Wild Side," live, 1973.
Video: Lou Reed and John Cale, "Berlin," at Bataclan in Paris, 1972.
Video: "Heroin," at Bataclan in Paris, 1972.
Video: Probably not his favorite interview ever.
Video: The 1988 documentary Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart.
Video: "Sweet Jane," live in Paris, 1974.
Video: The Velvet Underground on "The South Bank Show," 1986.
Video: The Velvet Underground, "Rock and Roll." From the seminal proto-punk album, Loaded.