||IN MEMORY OF LOU REED, MARCH 2nd 1942 - OCTOBER 27th 2013
In Webster's dictionary, the term "pioneer" is described as one that originates or helps open up a new line of thought or activity. That is a term that can be used to describe Lou Reed.
Lou Reed marched to the beat of his own drum and gave the rock establishment the finger. It was a beautiful sight to see. His real name was Louis Furbank and in the late 1960s, with the Woodstock generation's philosophy of peace and love beginning to fade, he, alongside Iggy Pop and David Bowie, began to challenge this notion in a very aggressive and confrontational
By using the rock stage as a theater, they would act out their own fantasies and those of their audience in a more uncertain age.
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Lou Reed was a fan of 1950s 'doo wop'. He took what he had learned and what had influenced him and applied it to the landmark Velvet Underground debut album, as well as all his other future recordings.
The Velvet Underground's debut album was a breath of fresh air in 1967. Not everybody bought into the idea of flower power and the idea of taking acid and talking to the trees. 'All Tomorrow's Parties' and 'Heroin' were groundbreakers that influenced a future generation of Metal, punk and alternative musicians.
The album did not sell a lot of copies at that time, but what it did do was set the stage for future generations that went out and formed bands of their own.
In 1972, Reed got in on the glam rock action. He teamed up with producer Ken Scott, along with a helping hand from both David Bowie and Mick Ronson. These three men in return would help Reed produce 'Transformer'. This album would be a major breakthrough in his career.
Of all the tracks that were on 'Transformer', the one that still carries the most significance to this very day is 'Walk On The Wild Side'. In my opinion, it is one of the greatest pieces of American literature.
Here, Lou Reed is not singing you a song, he is telling you a story. He is telling you a story about the shady characters of New York's underworld. The people that inspired him, the hookers, the junkies and cross-dresses of New York street life.
Lou Reed will always be remembered for the Velvet Underground and 'Walk On The Wild Side'. However, his fifteenth album, titled 'New York' is his finest hour.
On 'New York' he is simply telling the truth of the state of New York City in 1989. I remember buying 'New York' when it came out. It struck a raw nerve with me and with everybody that bought it. Songs like 'Dirty Boulevard', 'Last Great American Whale' and 'Strawman' read like a great American novel.
Lou Reed was the heart and soul of New York City. His songs always took the temperature and the pulse of the city. It is no accident that many New Yorkers over the years decided it was best to head to Palm Beach, instead of remaining in the city. Lou Reed could have gone that route as he had the money to do so, but he choose not to and that says a lot about the man and who he is as a person and as a human being.
Tonight, and the next few nights, no matter where you are in any part of the world, go to your neighborhood bar and have a beer and if you have a rock and roll bar, then go to it, put a dollar in the jukebox and put on a Lou Reed song or a Velvet Underground song and celebrate this man's life and what he has given us.
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