Lou Reed - Rock Legend
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It must be said that you’d be hard pushed to find anyone who could disagree with Lou Reed’s rock legend status. His influence stretches through the DNA of modern rock music. His seminal work with the Velvet Underground in the 1960s re-wrote the blueprint for what rock could be and remains a key inspiration for new acts to this day. He died on Sunday at his Long Island home in New York, aged 71.The cause was liver disease – having received a transplant earlier this year he released a hopeful statement saying "I am a triumph of modern medicine, physics and chemistry.” Apparently he’d been receiving treatment again until a few days ago. Throughout his long career he dug his own furrow in the field of rock n roll, with his distinct style pushing the boundaries. His dead-pan voice, knowing lyrics and dark, abrasive energy are instantly recognisable. The Velvet Underground, who gained infamy while managed by pop-artist Andy Warhol, failed to make a commercial impact during their life-span. But their impact on music is immeasurable. As Brian Eno famously stated in a 1982 interview, the first album may have only sold 30,000 copies in its early years but “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band.” Indeed the 1967 release, The Velvet Underground & Nico, of which Eno speaks is a seminal release that earns its place in the list of ‘greatest albums of all time.’ The band challenged the flower power mood and concocted a venomous sound based on the dark underbelly of New York – covering dark subject matter such as sado-masochism, drug use and prostitution. It has a blunt literary street style and definitely an air of New York realism. Speaking to the journalist Kristine McKenna Reed once said: “I’ve always believed that there’s an amazing number of things you can do through a rock ‘n’ roll song…and that you can do serious writing in a rock song if you can somehow do it without losing the beat. The things I’ve written about wouldn’t be considered a big deal if they appeared in a book or movie.”
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