Lou Reed

American rock musician (1942–2013)

Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed (March 2, 1942 – October 27, 2013)[1] was an American rock musician. He was originally from Long Island, New York and spent most of his life in New York City. He is remembered for being in the Velvet Underground, although he also released solo work. He was friends with artist Andy Warhol.

Lou Reed
Lou Reed performing in 2011
Lou Reed performing in 2011
Background information
Birth nameLewis Allan Reed
Born(1942-03-02)March 2, 1942
Brooklyn, New York City, United States
DiedOctober 27, 2013(2013-10-27) (aged 71)
Southampton, Long Island, New York, United States
GenresRock, experimental rock, art rock, protopunk, noise, drone, psychedelic rock, folk rock, glam rock, blue-eyed soul, spoken word
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter, producer, photographer
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, ostrich guitar, bass, synthesizer, keyboards, piano, harmonica, drums, percussion
Years active1964–2013
LabelsMatador, MGM, RCA, Sire, Reprise, Warner Bros.

Early life


Lewis Allan Reed was born on March 2, 1942 in Brooklyn, New York City.[2] He studied at Syracuse University. Reed was raised Jewish.[3]



Reed began his career in 1964. He is perhaps most famous for his songs "Walk on the Wild Side" (about transgender woman Candy Darling and other such people Reed had known), "Perfect Day" (which was covered by many other artists, including Duran Duran and a version used by the BBC) and "Heroin" (an unabashed "love song" about the drug. Reed's 1989 album New York drew attention and praise, for its matter-of-fact look at the condition of New York City in the late 1980s.

At the height of his popularity as a solo artist, Reed released one of the least "commercial" recordings ever; his 1975 experimental album Metal Machine Music. It was an hour of electric guitar feedback, and not what many people thought was music. The album did not hurt his career in the long run, and it reminded people that Reed was a unique musician.

Because of his song about heroin, Reed was believed to have been addicted to the drug, but this was not the case. He was a longtime user of amphetamines, marijuana and tobacco, but gradually stopped using any drugs. He began exercising more, and enjoyed Tai Chi.

In May 2000, Reed performed before Pope John Paul II at the Great Jubilee Concert in Rome.

Reed was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with The Velvet Underground in 1996 and as a solo artist in 2015.

Personal life


Reed was bisexual. He was married to Betty Reed during 1973. Then he was married to Sylvia Morales from 1980 until they divorced in 1994. Then he was married to Laurie Anderson, the performance artist and musician, from 2008 until his death in 2013. Reed had no children.

In April 2013, Reed had a liver transplant. He died from a liver disease on October 27, 2013 in his home in Long Island, New York.[4] He was 71 years old.[5]

Tributes were paid to Reed on Twitter, including those from Miley Cyrus, Salman Rushdie, Samuel L. Jackson, Lenny Kravitz,[6] Ricky Gervais, Ryan Adams, Elijah Wood, and many others.[6][7] John Cale, his Velvet Underground bandmate, posted on his Facebook: "The world has lost a fine songwriter and poet…I've lost my 'school-yard buddy'".[8]


  1. Sam Jones and Shiv Malik (October 27, 2013). "Lou Reed, lead singer of Velvet Undergound, dies aged 71 | Music". theguardian. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
  2. "Lou Reed Facts, information, pictures | Encyclopedia.com articles about Lou Reed". Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
  3. Beeber, Steven Lee (2006). The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB's: A Secret History of Jewish Punk. Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-1-55652-761-6. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
  4. "BBC News – Lou Reed, Velvet Underground frontman, dies at 71". BBC Online. October 27, 2013. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
  5. "Lou Reed, Velvet Underground Leader and Rock Pioneer, Dead at 71". Rolling Stone. October 27, 2013. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
  6. 6.0 6.1 USA Today, Lou Reed, Fans from Miley Cyrus to Lenny Kravitz had something to say about Lou Reed. Retrieved on October 27, 2013
  7. Sherwell, Philip (October 27, 2013). "Lou Reed dies aged 71". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
  8. Wile, Rob (October 27, 2013). "Here's Velvet Underground Co-Founder John Cale's Reaction To Lou Reed's Passing". Business Insider. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 27, 2013.

Other websites


  Media related to Lou Reed at Wikimedia Commons