Lou Reed

Happy Birthday

Lewis Allan Reed
March 2, 1942
New York City, NY

Lou Reed is remembered for his influential band "Velvet Underground" and as a genius singer, songwriter and guitarist . 

Lewis Allan Reed was born on March 2, 1942 at Beth El Hospital (now Brookdale) in Brooklyn and grew up in Freeport, Long Island. Reed was the son of Toby and Sidney Joseph Reed, an accountant. His family was Jewish; his father had changed his name from Rabinowitz to Reed. Reed later said that although he was Jewish, his real god was rock 'n' roll.

Lou was a troubled boy. He was diagnosed with mental conditions. Lou was depressed, anxious, and socially unresponsive. He was given Electroconvulsive therapy ECT - to combat his homosexuality. Apparently they showed him pictures of naked guys and then shocked his 'nads!

Upon his recovery from his illness and associated treatment, Reed resumed his education at Syracuse University in 1960, studying journalism, film directing, and creative writing. He was a platoon leader in ROTC; he said he was later expelled from the program for holding an unloaded gun to his superior's head. (Sounds like the treatment worked wonders.)

In 1964, Reed moved to New York City to work as an in-house songwriter for Pickwick Records. That year he wrote and recorded the single "The Ostrich", a parody of popular dance songs of the time, which included lines such as "put your head on the floor and have somebody step on it".

This is where Lou met John Cale. They formed The Velvet Underground with Sterling Morrison & Moe Tucker. Their first gig was at Summit HS on December 11, 1965. The suburban students were horrified by what they witnessed. Many went screaming for the exits. 7 kids were hospitalized. Many were never the same.
The band soon came to the attention of Andy Warhol. One of Warhol's first contributions was to integrate them into the Exploding Plastic Inevitable. Warhol's associates inspired many of Reed's songs as he fell into a thriving, multifaceted artistic scene. Reed rarely gave an interview without paying homage to Warhol as a mentor. Warhol pushed the band to take on a chanteuse, the German former model and singer Nico. Despite his initial resistance, Reed wrote several songs for Nico to sing, and the two were briefly lovers.

The Velvet Underground were so far ahead of their time, we still havent caught up. In 1965 as the rest of the world was singing about holding hands and dancing, Reed was writing about heroin use and homosexuality. 

The Velvet Underground received no commercial success, but are considered to be one of the most influential bands of all time. They combined psychedelia, punk, instrumentals, sound effects and multimedia into their acts. They released 4 classic albums and by 1970 Reed left the band.

After leaving the Velvet Underground, Reed moved to his parents' home on Long Island, and took a job at his father's tax accounting firm as a typist,-earning $40 a week. In 1971, he signed a recording contract with RCA Records and recorded his first solo album in London with Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman from the band Yes. The album, Lou Reed, contained versions of unreleased Velvet Underground songs, This album was overlooked by most pop music critics and did not sell well,

Reed then released masterpiece after masterpiece! "Transformer", "Berlin", "Sally Cant Dance", "Metal Machine Music", "Coney Island Baby", "Rock n Roll Heart", "Street Hassle" and on and on. 

The songs! What an amazing catalog. A genius! "Walk on the Wild Side", "Perfect Day", "Waiting for my Man", "Heroin", "Femme Fatale", "Venus in Furs", "Vicious", "Satellite of Love", "Rock n Roll", "Sweet Jane", "Dirty Blvd" and so many more. 

No one embodied the dark cool side of New York City more than Lou Reed. Heck he invented it. He was and always will be "The King of New York". "The Godfather of Punk". Cool AF in leather and dark shades. Lou Reed died on October 27, 2013. 

Remembering Lou on his birthday! Thank You for the music Sir! We Love and Miss You!
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