RIP, Lou Reed

Very sad day for Rock and Roll, New York and the world.

Obit at Rolling Stone.

23 Comments on “RIP, Lou Reed”

  1. That is sad, but not unexpected. He had been sick for some time. Take a Walk on the Wild Side is one of my favs…

  2. Devastating. While never a huge fan of his work I cannot dismiss his massive influence not only on rock music but that of all my musical idols, Joy Division specifically. My condolences go out to his family, especially Laurie Anderson, in this difficult time. A legend has left this earth and the band in heaven just got better. So it goes…

  3. I can’t believe it. I’m thinking I should play “Sister Ray” in his honor since VU is one of my favorite bands (past or present) and “Sister Ray” is one of my favorite songs. Maybe I should play “O Superman” as well. I wonder how she’s holding up at this sad time.

  4. A sad day indeed. Based on how often the music drifts back into my head one of my favourite works of his is Songs For Drella, an album he did with John Cale on Andy Warhol. In particular the song Work, bare and simple with biting, descriptive lyrics.

  5. I drove down to the drugstore about 19 AM. I needed my Motrin fix–I’m 58 and plantar fascitis sucks.

    On the way home, I found myself singing along to Walk on the Wild Side on the radio. After sitting in the driveway until the song ended, I went in the house. The wife asked what took me so long, and I said “just a Lou Reed song.”

    Then she said: “Then you heard Lou Reed died . . .”

    She then showed me the Rolling Stone obit.

    I don’t know why I’m always in denial–all these guys are supposed to be around forever, aren’t they?

    Then I spent some time spinning old vinyl . . .

    The Velvet Underground
    Sally Can’t Dance
    Metal Machine Music

  6. Wasn’t aware he was that ill. A friend likes to make the comment that the first Velvet Underground only sold four-figures worth of albums but that everyone who bought it went out and formed a band.

    We’ll just try and pretend that the collaboration with Metallica didn’t happen.

  7. For those of us who aren’t friends with Brian Eno, here’s some more info on that oft quoted comment:

    Myth: “The Velvet Underground’s first album only sold a few thousand copies, but everyone who bought one formed a band.”

    Reality: That’s a quote that (in various different wordings) has been attributed to Brian Eno countless times, though even the author of the most comprehensive Eno biography couldn’t track down the original source. Of more importance, The Velvet Underground & Nico, though not exactly a hit the first time around, sold a lot more than just a few thousand copies—and more, even, than the “30,000 copies in the first five years” that Lou Reed himself told Eno the LP sold. An MGM royalty statement shows sales of 58,476 copies through February 14, 1969 (about two years after its initial release)—not at all bad for a late-’60s LP, if far less than Andy Warhol and the Velvets hoped for.

    Oddly, in 1970, both Fusion and Circus reported the album had already sold nearly a quarter of a million copies, Sterling Morrison later claiming the LP eventually went “gold,” the industry term for a half a million units sold. While the likelihood that the banana album sold more than 200,000 copies by 1970 seems faint, the possibility that it broke the six-figure mark by then or not long afterward doesn’t seem unreasonable—and if all 100,000 of those people formed a band because of it, the Velvet Underground would certainly have been a lot more famous by the mid-1970s than they actually were.

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