OCT 28, 2013 – The musical world is in shock and in mourning, as we woke up to the sad news that one of music's biggest pioneers, Lou Reed, has died. He stayed strong till the last moments, even doing Tai Chi about an hour before he passed. I blogged about him last May when Lou underwent a liver transplant, and he was working hard on his rehab program saying on his website he is "bigger and stronger" than ever. Unfortunately though, he passed away at his home in Southampton, New York over the weekend, and numerous tributes to Lou Reed via Twitter poured out from musicians. Lou had a huge impact on the musical scene and the world.
My first contact with a Lou Reed was indirect. It was 1973, and I was about 10, and the rock band Brownsville Station had a song on their "Yeah" album I thought was one of the coolest rock guitar rhythms ever; that song was Sweet Jane. (Here is the Brownsville Station version I grew up on) Later when I was in my teens, my sister put on a Velvet Underground album that had the man who wrote that song in it, and I was floored. Pure musical genius, very original and creative; the music I heard coming out from those speakers inspired me and many other musicians to pick up the guitar and start a rock band. There is the famous quote from Brian Eno of where he comments on the first Velvet Underground only selling 30,000 copies to which Eno replied, "I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band". Count me in that crowd.
Probably the most hard hit musician was his band mate in Velvet Underground, John Cale. In a statement on his Facebook page Cale says, "The news I feared most, pales in comparison to the lump in my throat and the hollow in my stomach. Two kids have a chance meeting and 47 years later we fight and love the same way – losing either one is incomprehensible. No replacement value, no digital or virtual fill…broken now, for all time. Unlike so many with similar stories – we have the best of our fury laid out on vinyl, for the world to catch a glimpse. The laughs we shared just a few weeks ago, will forever remind me of all that was good between us." Watch a video below of Lou with Velvet Underground live playing one of the badass rock rhythm guitar riffs ever, Sweet Jane, and read more about the creative musical genius that had a huge impact on the rock scene on his Wikipedia page here and I recommend this NY Times article about Lou's career and passing here. JTMP joins in the mourning of Reed's passing, and also join the celebration of the musical genius he brought to the world. We will miss you Lou! (Photo credit: Marcelo Costa/CC)