In Memoriam: Lou Reed
There have been a few deaths over the last few weeks. But when a passing comes along the likes of Lou Reed, well, there’s something that hits close to home. The reason is simple. Whether we knew him or not, his influence was huge. And that’s quite a legacy he left behind. The Velvet Underground. A strong and variable solo career. Walk On The Wild Side.
It wasn’t hard to become a fan of the ground-breaking music that was a part of the mystery of The Velvet Underground. It was even easier to become a fan of his solo career. It was impossible to find his first, self-titled RCA album. With virtually no hits coming from it, it languished. But with the release of the Bowie-produced Transformer album just a few months later, his “Walk On The Wild Side” hit set up signposts to the promise of Lou Reed.
Lou Reed followed that with the brilliant but dark Berlin album. But it was his Sally Can’t Dance album that showed Lou Reed in different form, a formula he would follow throughout his career until his death. If that change-up wasn’t enough, nothing prepared the buying fans for the 2LP Metal Machine Music album that split the fans down the middle. Looking back, it’s now easy to realize that MMM may have set the stage for the now prevalent drone ambient style that is popular among its adherents.
We could do an album by album commentary. Honestly, Lou Reed’s career is worth the effort to do so. But in the end, nothing can replace the feeling of loss that Lou Reed’s passing creates within his many fans. A passing of this magnitude is too difficult to ignore.
To borrow from Lou’s own storehouse of words:
“As you pass through fire, as you pass through fire
trying to remember its name
When you pass through fire licking at your lips
you cannot remain the same
And if the building’ burning
move towards that door
but don’t put the flames out
There’s a bit of magic in everything
and then some loss to even things out.”
There is a large book with what all the fans can write concerning Lou Reed, some more magically presented than others. But in the end, one thing becomes readily apparent. We are all fans. And Lou’s passing is catastrophically sad. Maybe even hard to bear.
Thanks, Lou, for every note, every performance, ever lyric, and every song. Music would not be the same without you! “It’s such a perfect day. I’m glad that I spent it with you…”