The famous quote about the Velvet Underground -- of which the late Lou Reed was singer and primary songwriter -- is that everyone who heard them went on to form a band. There's no way to prove this: We'd argue that at least half of them became music journalists and/or zine editors. Nonetheless, there's no denying Reed's influence on several generations of brainy songwriters. He wasn't afraid to get heavy: "Sister Ray" and "Venus in Furs" still sound sleazy and confrontational, and 1975's Metal Machine Music consists of nothing but formless electronic noise. Yet, as the third and fourth Velvets albums proved, he was also capable of love songs: to romantic interests, to the Warhol/Factory denizens of his acquaintance and to having one's life changed by the radio.
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders Lou Reed RIP
Without the Velvet Underground and solo albums like Berlin and Transformer, there is simply no rock music as we know it today. Small wonder that Reed's death over the weekend touched such a nerve. It is not just as if one of rock & roll's icons passed; it's as if a little bit of rock & roll itself passed, too.More »