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Lewis "Lou" Allan Reed is an American musician and songwriter, known for his work with The Velvet Underground and as a solo artist.
After the VU, Reed faced a largely commercially unsuccessful start to his solo career, before finding a hit with "Walk on the Wild Side" after collaborating with and following the glam rock influences of friend David Bowie. Since then, Reed has mostly avoided writing songs that would typically be well-received commercially, to varying degrees of success. He has explored many styles with his work, perhaps most infamously with the controversial Metal Machine Music. Reed is married to fellow musician Laurie Anderson.
Although he had not become well known publicly until his hit song "Walk on the Wild Side" in the early seventies, Reed has been writing songs since he was merely fourteen years old. After experimenting with different bands throughout his high school and college years, Reed became a song writer for a small company in Manhattan. After moving to the city from his parents' house on Long Island, Reed met fellow musician John Cale, making relations that would become one of the most influential bands in history, The Velvet Underground.
Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Angus Maclise were the original four to start the Velvets, but Maureen Tucker soon replaced Maclise as the drummer. Andy Warhol, looking to expand his work into other platforms, soon picked up the Velvets and produced their first, and most critically acclaimed, album, The Velvet Underground & Nico. Reed was the lyricist, as well as singer for most songs, with Nico, one of Andy Warhol's superstars, as chanteuse on some songs.
- Lou Reed (1972)
- Transformer (1972)
- Berlin (1973)
- Rock 'n' Roll Animal (1974)
- Sally Can't Dance (1974)
- Metal Machine Music (1975)
- Coney Island Baby (1975)
- Rock and Roll Heart (1976)
- Street Hassle (1978)
- The Bells (1979)
- Growing Up in Public (1980)
- The Blue Mask (1982)
- Legendary Hearts (1983)
- New Sensations (1984)
- Mistrial (1986)
- New York (1989)
- Songs for Drella (with former VU member John Cale) (1990)
- Magic and Loss (1992)
- Set the Twilight Reeling (1996)
- Ecstasy (2000)
- The Raven (2003)
- Hudson River Wind Meditations (2007)
- The Stone: Issue Three (with John Zorn & Laurie Anderson) (2008)
- The Creation of the Universe (2008)
- Lulu (with Metallica) (2011)
Lou Reed's Work Shows Examples of the Following Tropes:
- Big Applesauce: He's not called "The King Of New York" for nothing.
- Black Sheep Hit: Rock 'n' Roll Animal is one of Lou's highest-charting albums. It's a stadium rock/heavy metal album filled with Epic Rocking from a man considered the Godfather Of Punk.
- "Walk on the Wild Side".
- Concept Album: Berlin, Songs for Drella (with John Cale), and The Raven
- Cool Shades
- Distinct Double Album: Metal Machine Music
- Epic Rocking: Frequently, especially live, but the crowner is the studio version of "Like A Possum" at 18.02.
- Executive Meddling: Essentially what led to the conception and release of Metal Machine Music.
- Flip-Flop of God: Is Metal Machine Music a serious attempt at creating a minimalist masterpiece, a way to piss off his record company, or just the result of way too much drugs? Is John Cale a genius or an asshole? Is "Perfect Day" a Silly Love Song or an Ode To Heroin? Ask him. Wait two years. Ask him again. Compare the answers.
- Gayngst: "Families"
- Grief Song: Songs For Drella and Magic And Loss are both grief albums (for Andy Warhol and Doc Pomus, respectively)
- Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: "Women"
- I Call It Vera / Names to Run Away From Really Fast: When he couldn't get the proper distortion out of his guitar, he had a friend build a gadget called the Death Pedal.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Walk On The Wild Side" is a smooth, hooky pop single... about drugs and prostitution.
- New Sound Album: Fairly frequently, especially considering his shift to glam rock, followed by "noise rock" and experimentation with various musical styles.
- Ode to Intoxication: Played straight ("The Power Of Positive Drinking"), subverted ("Street Hassle") and averted ("Waves Of Fear")
- Piss-Take Rap: "The Original Wrapper" features Lou rapping, hard to tell if it was meant as joke or not, but either way he's not very proficient at it.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: To a certain extent with John Cale -- VU turned away from the assault of White Light/White Heat to a more accessible direction under his lead, and when Punk Rock broke Reed was recording singer-songwritery albums and dismissing the movement while Cale jumped on the bandwagon and recorded harsh material like Sabotage Live.
- Rock Opera: Berlin about a two doomed lovers in the titular city, and Songs For Drella about Andy Warhol
- Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll: During The Seventies, and Reed was even told "to clean up his act" by Bowie if he wanted him to produce another album.
- Sampling: Sort of.. Street Hassle opener "Gimmie Some Good Times" features a riff very similar to "Sweet Jane" and even opens with a few lines from it, though it's newly recorded and no literal sampling takes place.
- Spoken Word: His singing often borders on this.
- Take That: Notably on the live album Take No Prisoners, where he calls Village Voice critic Robert Christgau a "toe fucker", and he also takes a potshot at Patti Smith by shouting "Fuck Radio Ethiopia! I'm Radio Brooklyn!".
- Three Chords and the Truth: "One chord is fine. Two chords is pushing it. Three chords is jazz."