Lou Reed emerges from the pages of Victor Bockris's internationally acclaimed biography as a brilliant lyrical innovator. It is as a writer that Reed has been able to traverse the various terrains of his career decade by decade. And it is from his position as a writer that he stands alongside his peers, Bob Dylan and Neil Young.
Transformer, Lou Reed's most enduringly popular album, is described with varying labels: it's often called a glam rock album, a proto-punk album, a commercial breakthrough for Lou Reed, and an album about being gay. And yet, it doesn't neatly fit into any of these descriptors. Buried underneath the radio-friendly exterior lie coded confessions of the subversive, wounded intelligence that gives this album its staying power as a work of art. Here Lou Reed managed to make a fun, accessible rock'n'roll record that is also a troubled meditation on the ambiguities-sexual, musical and otherwise-that defined his public persona and helped make him one of the most fascinating and influential figures in rock history. Through close listening and personal reflections, songwriter Ezra Furman explores Reed's and Transformer's unstable identities, and the secrets the songs challenge us to uncover.
The essential biography of one of music's most influential icons: Lou Reed As lead singer and songwriter for the Velvet Underground and a renowned solo artist, Lou Reed invented alternative rock. His music, at once a source of transcendent beauty and coruscating noise, violated all definitions of genre while speaking to millions of fans and inspiring generations of musicians. But while his iconic status may be fixed, the man himself was anything but. Lou Reed's life was a transformer's odyssey. Eternally restless and endlessly hungry for new experiences, Reed reinvented his persona, his sound, even his sexuality time and again. A man of contradictions and extremes, he was fiercely independent yet afraid of being alone, artistically fearless yet deeply paranoid, eager for commercial success yet disdainful of his own triumphs. Channeling his jagged energy and literary sensibility into classic songs - like "Walk on the Wild Side" and "Sweet Jane" - and radically experimental albums alike, Reed remained desperately true to his artistic vision, wherever it led him. Now, just a few years after Reed's death, Rolling Stone writer Anthony DeCurtis, who knew Reed and interviewed him extensively, tells the provocative story of his complex and chameleonic life. With unparalleled access to dozens of Reed's friends, family, and collaborators, DeCurtis tracks Reed's five-decade career through the accounts of those who knew him and through Reed's most revealing testimony, his music. We travel deep into his defiantly subterranean world, enter the studio as the Velvet Underground record their groundbreaking work, and revel in Reed's relationships with such legendary figures as Andy Warhol, David Bowie, and Laurie Anderson. Gritty, intimate, and unflinching, Lou Reed is an illuminating tribute to one of the most incendiary artists of our time.
Out of print for several years, a comprehensive volume of Lou Reed's lyrics with brand new introductions, now updated in a new text design to include the lyrics from his final album with Metallica, Lulu. Through his many incarnations-from proto punk to glam rocker to elder statesman of the avant garde Lou Reed's work has maintained an undeniable vividness and raw beauty, fueled by precise character studies and rendered with an admirable shot of moral ambiguity. Beginning with his formative days in the Velvet Underground and continuing through his remarkable solo albums like Transformer, Berlin, and New York,Doin' The Things We Want To is crucial to an appreciation of Lou Reed, not only as a consummate underground musician, but as one of the truly significant visionary lyricists of the rock n' roll era. Containing a body of work that spans more than six decades and facsimile pages from late career lyrics, this is a monument to the literary qualities of an American original.
'Hey, you! Beautiful!' The voice was compelling—an order. So I turned around. 'Yeah, you,' he said. 'What are you doing in here? You look normal.' 'I am,' I said. Bettye Kronstad met Lou Reed in 1968 as a nineteen-year-old Columbia University student; they were married, briefly, in 1973. Their relationship spanned some of the most pivotal years of his life and career, from the demise of The Velvet Underground to the writing and recording of his seminal solo masterpieces Transformer, for which Lou wrote ‘Perfect Day’ about an afternoon they spent together in the park, and Berlin, which draws on tales from Bettye’s childhood. In Perfect Day, Bettye looks back on their initially idyllic life together on the Upper East Side; Lou’s struggle to launch a solo career after leaving perhaps the most influential rock band of all time; his work and friendships with fellow stars David Bowie and Iggy Pop; and his descent into drink and drug abuse following the success of Transformer, which sent him spinning out from gentle soul to rock’n’roll animal and brought a swift and calamitous end to their relationship. The result is a powerful and poignant meditation on love, loss, writing, and music.
A revealing collection of interviews with one of the greatest artists in the history of rock ’n’ roll—as brilliant, punchy, and blustery as the man himself In this collection of powerful interviews given over thirty years—including his final interview—Lou Reed oscillates between losing patience with his interviewers (he was famous for walking out on them) and sharing profound observations on the human experience, especially as he reflects on poetry and novels, the joy of live performances, and the power of sound. In conversation with legendary rock critics and authors he respected, Reed’s interviews are as pithy and brilliant as the man himself. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Dangerous Glitter of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Lou Reed
Author: Dave Thompson
Publisher: Backbeat Books
(Book). When Lou Reed and Iggy Pop first met David Bowie in the fall of 1971, Bowie was just another English musician passing through New York City. Lou was still recovering from the collapse of the Velvet Underground, and Iggy had already been branded a loser... Yet within two years they completely changed the face of popular music with a decadent glamour and street-level vibe. With Bowie producing, Reed's Transformer album was a worldwide hit, spinning off the sleazy street anthem "Walk on the Wild Side." Iggy's Raw Power , mixed by Bowie, provided the mean-spirited, high-octane blueprint for Punk. Bowie boosted elements from both Iggy and Reed to create his gender-bending rock idol Ziggy Stardust. Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell is the story of this friendship and the incredible productivity and debauchery that emerged from it. Presented here for the very first time are their stories interwoven in a triple helix of sexuality, glam rock, and drugs as seen through the eyes of the people who made it happen.
This volume documents the installation at the Cranbrook Art Museum of Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Trio, a live ambisonic 3-D sound installation inspired by Reed’s controversial 1975 album Metal Machine Music. Reed worked with acoustic specialists to recreate the live experience.
'This "sincere speed-written, blood-spattered tribute" strings together the raciest anecdotes...and does it rather well' SUNDAY TIMES 'Mick Wall has written in a rough and unsentimental style that suits his subject' THE TIMES Lou Reed died in 2013. This is the critically acclaimed biography of the songwriter, Velvet Underground member and musician. Rock 'n' roll was Lou Reed's life. From recording one of the most critically acclaimed albums of all time with THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO (1967), to heavy drug abuse and performing in front of the Pope, Lou Reed's story is one of great peaks and deep lows. Forever dedicated to his art, he became one of modern music's most legendary and seismic figures. Although a controversial, outspoken and undoubtedly misunderstood musician, Lou Reed's influence on popular culture cannot be overstated. He brought avant-garde to the mainstream with the Velvet Underground and his solo work was pronounced a revelation. Hit albums such as TRANSFORMER, SALLY CAN'T DANCE and BERLIN have cemented his name in the rock pantheon. A testament to his strength of character and true spirit, he was a creative and performer until the end, playing benefit gigs, featuring on new releases and, most poignantly, declaring that he was looking forward to 'being on stage performing, and writing more songs to connect with your hearts and spirits and the universe well into the future.' A true icon of rock 'n' roll - his legacy will live on in this book.
Containing a body of work that spans more than three decades, Pass Thru Fire is a stunning collection of the lyrics of an American original. Through his many incarnations-from proto punk to glam rocker to elder statesman of the avant garde-Lou Reed's work has maintained an undeniable vividness and raw beauty, fueled by precise character studies and rendered with an admirable shot of moral ambiguity. Beginning with his formative days in the Velvet Underground and continuing through his remarkable solo career-albums like Transformer, Berlin, New York, Magic and Loss, and Ecstasy-Pass Thru Fire is crucial to an appreciation of Lou Reed, not only as a consummate underground musician, but as one of the truly significant poets of our time.
No artist offered a more incisive and accurate portrait of the troubled landscape of the 1970s than David Bowie. Cultural historian Peter Doggett explores the rich heritage of Bowie's most productive and inspired decade, and traces the way in which his music reflected and influenced the world around him. From 'Space Oddity', his dark vision of mankind's voyage into the unknown terrain of space, to the Scary Monsters album, Doggett examines in detail Bowie's audacious creation of an 'alien' rock star, Ziggy Stardust, and his increasingly perilous explorations of the nature of identity and the meaning of fame. Mixing brilliant musical critique with biographical insight and acute cultural analysis, The Man Who Sold The World is a unique study of a major artist and his times.
The legendary musician’s distinctive artistic take on Edgar Allan Poe includes “some of the most personal lyrics of his career” (Rolling Stone). One of the most influential and innovative recording artists of the past three decades, Lou Reed has always offered a shrewd view of life in the big city in all its colors. It is no surprise, then, that he considers Edgar Allan Poe a spiritual forefather. In The Raven, Reed immerses himself in Poe’s enigmatic world and sets out to reimagine his work to mesmerizing effect. In 2001 Lou Reed, legendary theater director Robert Wilson, and an all-star cast presented the musical POEtry at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Reed’s subsequent studio adaptation, The Raven, has been hailed as one of his more daring and challenging albums. Here, accompanied by photographs by the acclaimed artist and director Julian Schnabel, is the definitive text of the CD release. The Raven includes Reed's distinctive takes on Poe’s most celebrated works, as well as song lyrics written for the musical. It is a fascinating meeting between a dark chronicler of the twentieth century and his nineteenth-century counterpart; the work of one iconoclastic genius offering a haunting exploration of another.
Reva Wolf investigates the underground culture of poets, artists, and filmmakers who interacted with Warhol during his apotheosis in the turbulent 1960s. She claims that Warhol understood the literary imagination of his generation and that a study of Warhol's literary activities is essential to understanding his art.
For thirty years Nick Coleman immersed himself in music, from rock’n’roll to “pro rock,” jazz to classical, until one morning as he sat up in bed, his right ear went stone deaf. His left ear—as though to compensate—started to make horrific noises “…like the inside of an old fridge hooked up to a half-blown amplifier.” The Train in the Night explores the world in which a music critic must cope with a world that has abruptly lost its most important element, sound. But Coleman opens more than his struggle; he delves back into his past to examine how music defined his identity, how that identity must be reshaped by its loss, and how at time the memory of the music can be just as powerful as the music itself.
"I have no time for lies and fantasy, and neither should you. Enjoy or die..." --John Lydon Punk has been romanticized and embalmed in various media. An English class revolt that became a worldwide fashion statement, punk's idols were the Sex Pistols, and its sneering hero was Johnny Rotten. Seventeen years later, John Lydon looks back at himself, the Sex Pistols, and the "no future" disaffection of the time. Much more than just a music book, Rotten is an oral history of punk: angry, witty, honest, poignant, crackling with energy. Malcolm McLaren, Sid Vicious, Chrissie Hynde, Billy Idol, London and England in the late 1970s, the Pistols' creation and collapse...all are here, in perhaps the best book ever written about music and youth culture, by one of its most notorious figures.