Lou Reed, the legendary guitarist and the founder of the seminal avant-garde band The Velvet Underground who greatly influenced further rock generations, died Sunday at 71.
According to the New York Daily News, the cause of the death was still unknown, but the paper reminds that the hard-living icon underwent a liver transplant in May.
The legendary musician was born in Brooklyn and grew up on Long Island, reminds The Business Insider. Lou Reed then founded the Velvet Underground, a band which sold few records but lost its fans as they found their own bands.
The band itself was never stable enough, if take into the consideration creative tension, drugs and other factors. Reed left in August 1970 and worked briefly as a typist at his father’s accounting firm before signing a solo deal with RCA.
Reed, who said in one of his numerous interviews that his goal was to “write the Great American Novel in the form of a record album,” did just that as he left the legendary band and released an extensive solo catalog that “incorporated every sound from sledgehammer guitars to the sweet 1950s harmonies.”
“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,” writes Rolling Stone of the guitarist.
“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,” Reed once said, alluding to his bare-bones guitar style. “Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you’re into jazz.”After “Transformer” and “Metal Machine Music,” his records appeared to be quite different from an album based on Edgar Allan Poe to the 1987 “Songs for Drella,” in which he reunited with Cale for a tribute to their late friend Warhol.The Brooklin-born was a regular performer for much of his career. He was a guest of honour at numerous luxuriois events raging from the first Farm Aid in 1985 to a 2000 concert for Pope John Paul II and the Jazz Foundation of America’s 2009 “Great Night in Harlem.”
The musician was married British designer Sylvia Morales since 1980. However, the two divorced around 1994 and he began dating musician Laurie Anderson. The two were married in 2008 and she survives him.
In 2005 the guitarist released a double CD called ‘The Raven’, based on the work of Edgar Allen Poe. Two years later his ambient album ‘Hudson River Wind Meditations’ saw its release. Reed returned to mainstream rock with 2011’s ‘Lulu’, a collaboration with Metallica.
“All through this, I’ve always thought that if you thought of all of it as a book then you have the Great American Novel, every record as a chapter,” he told Rolling Stone in 1987.
“They’re all in chronological order. You take the whole thing, stack it and listen to it in order, there’s my Great American Novel.”