Monday, October 28, 2013

10.28.13 Hero of the Day: Lou Reed

Bee-otch of the Day honors are awarded Monday through Thursday, Bee-otch of the Week is awarded Friday on



Name: Lou Reed
Age: was 71
Occupation: singer/songwriter
Last Seen: taking a walk on the wild side
Awarded For: being a true influence on rock music, period.


Wow. Two heroes named Lou in two weeks.

One was Lou Scheimer, the animation producer who despite his animated shortcomings gave us some of the most-influential works of cartoons ever made. Plus, in the age of Reaganomics and outsourcing, gave hundreds of young American animators work.

Now, it's Lou Reed's turn. Like Scheimer, Reed was Jewish, worked for several bigger groups before going on his own (Scheimer worked for Walter Lantz and even Warner Bros. prior to Filmation's founding) and both stood for gay rights. However, Reed was himself bisexual (Scheimer was straight, though his daughter, Erika is gay), even receiving shock therapy as a teen.

But it was association with The Velvet Underground in the mid-60's that made Lou Reed a star. Its lead singer and guitarist, many felt that his style of sound helped pave the way for punk rock and alternative. Many a musical historian even called Lou and the Velvet Underground the first-ever alternative group. Several radio stations that have classic alternative shows - like Detroit's 89X - plays the Underground on an occasional basis.

When The Velvet Underground and Nico was recorded in 1966, fellow groups like The Beatles were also experimenting in new sounds. Some would say that the psychedelic sounds of both bands started to mesh with each other at the same time, further making rock more sophisticated and less top 40-friendly. Although TVU&N had two singles, it only peaked at #171 on the album charts. Still, it was one of the most-important albums of all time.

However, Lou Reed left the Underground in 1970. He released a self-titled album a year later of mostly re-recorded VU material, but in 1972, he hit pay dirt with Transformer, co-produced by David Bowie and containing the hit "Walk on the Wild Side", Reed's only top 40 hit. The album also contained other notable tracks such as "Satellite of Love" and the song I have posted above, "Perfect Day".

In all, Reed recorded 22 albums. However, his only gold album was 1989's New York. Its lead-off single, "Dirty Blvd." was a #1 hit on the alternative charts.

Reed's last album was 2011's Lulu, a concept album that was recorded with Metallica. The album was a disappointment, critically and sales-wise.

In 2008, he married art rocker Laurie Anderson, best-known for her 1981 hit "O Superman". Reed received a liver transplant earlier this year, but passed away on Sunday at the age of 71. He is survived by Anderson and the thousands of singers and songwriters he helped influence over the years.

Thanks, Lou, for helping us walk on the wild side with you.

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