I won’t pretend to be the biggest Lou Reed fan in the world. In fact, I think some of his stuff really had a very small audience. That said, Lou Reed was one of the greatest artists of the late 20th century and early 21st century and I am sorry that he is no longer on this planet.
My first real exposure to his work was on MTV watching the “I Love Women” video. It was fairly cheesy but the song itself is great. After that “I Love You Suzanne“. I thought both songs were pretty good but I was in my early teens. When I was a senior in high school, my girlfriend turned me on to The Velvet Underground. My freshman year in college was consumed by that band and then Lou Reed’s “New York” was released in 1989 and I was completely blown away. The opening lines from “Romeo Had Juliette” were some of the best rock lyrics and stand alone poetry I had ever heard.
“Caught between the twisted stars
the plotted lines the faulty map
that brought Columbus to New York”
I got to see him in concert on the New York tour at the Cincinnati Music hall. It was perfect.
So, when I read that he was gone, it bothered me a little more than usual. He was unique and his work spoke to me and gave a sense of possibility to my vision. I’m not going to give the laundry list of ways he has influenced me but I just wanted to publicly say good night to Lou Reed. We are poorer for your leaving.