My Heartfelt Thoughts On The Passing Of Lou Reed Today!

We're reaching a period in time where a lot of really big trees are going to start falling.  It will be inescapable, unavoidable and it will shake us to our core because we will then realize that there are no more heroes because we stopped making them.

And so went my Sunday morning high (a combination of football on TV, cup of hot coffee in my hand, and watching the dogs frolic in the yard) upon reading the news today - Sunday, October 27th - and learning of the death Lou Reed earlier today.

I hope for their own sake that the young kids realize how truly heavy this guy was and don't just roll their eyes as the rest of us pay our respects.

Like many, I have Peter Buck to thank for turning me on to Velvet Underground in the '80s.  Upon learning of their existence, I immediately felt robbed, as if I had uncovered an elaborate conspiracy.  How could this awesome music have been kept from me all these years?  I remembered thinking that this was no accident.
One listen to VU was like diving into a warm, welcoming pool of subversion.  The music itself may not have been so sinister, but the beautifully crude production and Reed's detached monotone vocals made it sound like something smuggled out of some communist country during the war.

Despite the thundering commercial disappointment that had been VU, Reed graduated to RCA Records after a brief retirement from music and made his first solo album, Lou Reed, with members of Yes.

A mere seven months later, he would return with Transformer and the trajectory of his career would be forever changed.  For that album, he'd traded Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman for David Bowie and Mick Ronson and the musical results were, in a word, breathtaking.  I still can't quite believe that a song that unabashedly decadent could still make it into the Top 20, but it did and we are all the better for it.

How could it not have been a hit, though?  With that iconic bass line, hell, you could have sung the phone book and it would have still been great.  Reed, of course, was singing about a handful of the Factory's more colorful, boundary-pushing characters, including Candy Darling, who was immortalized in the lines "But she never lost her head/Even when she was giving head".  Yes, Lou Reed was cool enough to rhyme "head" with "head" and get away with it.

Whereas Transformer had celebrated the joyful decadence of its characters, Berlin detailed their decline into drug use, depression and suicide.  It was at this point that Lou Reed transcended simple pop stardom and became the first author to narrate his own stories, going so far as to set them to music.  If the job of a narrator is to paint pictures with words, Lou Reed was - without question - one of the greatest narrators of our time.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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