Velvet Underground founder Lou Reed dies aged 71

Posted Oct 27, 2013 at 2:33pm
Read more about Velvet Underground founder Lou Reed dies aged 71 at

Lou Reed, a founding member of the Velvet Underground and one of the most influential figures in rock 'n' roll, died today at the age of 71. The cause of his death has not yet been released, but Reed underwent a liver transplant in May of this year. In July, he was hospitalized due to severe dehydration.

Along with multi-instrumentalist John Cale, drummer Maureen Tucker and guitarist Sterling Morison, Reed founded the Velvet Underground in New York in 1965, where they quickly drew their attention of Pop Art star Andy Warhol. Warhol incorporated the band into his Exploding Plastic Inevitable. "Andy would show his movies on us," Reed said. "We wore black so you could see the movie. But we were all wearing black anyway."

The band issued a series of albums that are considered benchmarks, combining gritty, minimalist guitar rock and post-Beat Generation poetry, including 1967's The Velvet Underground & Nico, 1968's White Light/White Heat and 1969's The Velvet Underground. The band never enjoyed robust sales, but their cavalierly abrasive sound (and 17-minute sonic explorations such as Sister Ray) would inspire legions of alternative rock acts.

After leaving the Velvet Underground in 1970, Reed embarked on a successful and diverse solo career, issuing albums that ran the gamut from mainstream rock (1972's Transformer, with the Manhattan anthem Walk On The Wild Side) to art-rock opera (1973's Berlin) to experiments in noise terror (1975's Metal Machine Music).

Reed, who had a history of drug use, married twice, first to British designer Sylvia Morales in 1980 and then to performance artist Laurie Anderson in 2008. Over the years, Reed and Anderson have collaborated and performed together while also participating in various civic and environmental charities and projects.

Always wildly eclectic, in 2005 Reed released a double-CD titled The Raven, based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe and featuring spoken-word contributions from David Bowie, Anderson, Christopher Walken and Steve Buscemi; and in 2001 he collaborated with Metallica for the much-panned (but not by MusicRadar) art-metal album Lulu.

Read more about

Add a Comment

Similar Guitar News

Joan Jett Talks Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Lou Reed and "I Love Rock ’N’ Roll" (4/17/2015)
This is an excerpt from the all-new May 2015 issue of Guitar World. For the rest of the story—and all of the May 2015 issue—head here. Girl’s Got Rhythm: Joan Jett has been banging out some of rock’s greatest power chords since the age of 15. Wi...
Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lou Reed, Joan Jett, Green Day Elected to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (12/16/2014)
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Lou Reed, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Green Day and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band have been elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2015. Beatles drummer Ringo Starr also will be honored...
Stevie Ray Vaughan, Green Day, Nine Inch Nails, Lou Reed Nominated for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (10/9/2014)
Well, it's finally happened. The late Stevie Ray Vaughan has actually been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. Vaughan, whose first album, Texas Flood, was released in 1983 (31 years ago), who put blues and vinta...
Guitarist Dick Wagner Dead at 71; Worked with Alice Cooper, Lou Reed (7/31/2014)
Guitarist Dick Wagner, who was best known for his work with Alice Cooper and Lou Reed, died today in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was 71. Wagner had contracted a lung infection after heart surgery and died following respiratory failure, Billboard rep...
Lou Reed's Cause of Death Revealed: Liver Disease (10/29/2013)
Liver disease has officially been declared the cause of singer Lou Reed's death. Following his liver transplant at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio in April, Reed said he was "bigger and stronger than ever" and called himself "a triumph of modern me...
Lou Reed, Rock Pioneer and Velvet Underground Co-Founder, Dead at 71 (10/27/2013)
Singer/guitarist Lou Reed, best known as the principal songwriter in the influential 1960s New York City band the Velvet Underground, died today at age 71, Rolling Stone reports. Although the cause of his death has not yet been revealed, Reed un...
Lou Reed Readies Retrospective, New Album, Book (8/2/1999)
Two albums and a second book of lyrics in the pipeline