83 Facts About Lou Reed


Lewis Allan Reed was an American musician and songwriter.


Lou Reed was the guitarist, singer, and principal songwriter for the rock band The Velvet Underground and had a solo career that spanned five decades.


Rock 'n' Roll Animal sold strongly, and Sally Can't Dance peaked at No 10 on the Billboard 200; but for a long period after, Lou Reed's work did not translate into sales, leading him deeper into drug addiction and alcoholism.


Lou Reed cleaned up in the early 1980s, and gradually returned to prominence with The Blue Mask and New Sensations, reaching a critical and commercial career peak with his 1989 album New York.


Lou Reed participated in the re-formation of the Velvet Underground in the 1990s, and he made several more albums, including a collaboration album with John Cale titled Songs for Drella, which was a tribute to their former mentor Andy Warhol.


Lou Reed contributed music to two theatrical interpretations of 19th-century writers, one of which he developed into an album titled The Raven.


Lou Reed married his third wife Laurie Anderson in 2008, and recorded the collaboration album Lulu with Metallica.

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Lou Reed has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice: as a member of the Velvet Underground in 1996 and as a solo act in 2015.


Lewis Allan Lou Reed was born on March 2,1942, at Beth-El Hospital in Brooklyn and grew up in Freeport, Long Island.


Lou Reed was the son of Toby and Sidney Joseph Lou Reed, an accountant.


Lou Reed's family was Jewish and his grandparents were Russian Jews who had fled antisemitism; his father had changed his name from Rabinowitz to Reed.


Lou Reed said that although he was Jewish, his "real god was rock 'n' roll".


Lou Reed attended Atkinson Elementary School in Freeport and went on to Freeport Junior High School.


Lou Reed began experimenting with drugs at the age of 16.


Lou Reed's first recording was as a member of a doo-wop three-piece group called the Jades, with Lou Reed providing guitar accompaniment and singing backing vocals.


Lou Reed's sister recalled that during his first year in college he was brought home one day, having had a mental breakdown, after which he remained "depressed, anxious, and socially unresponsive" for a time, and that his parents were having difficulty coping.


Lou Reed appeared to blame his father for the treatment to which he had been subjected.


Lou Reed wrote about the experience in his song "Kill Your Sons" from the album Sally Can't Dance.


Lou Reed later recalled the experience as having been traumatic and leading to memory loss.


Lou Reed believed that he was treated to dispel his homosexual feelings.


Lou Reed 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.


Lou Reed said that when he started out he was inspired by such musicians as Ornette Coleman, who had "always been a great influence" on him; he said that his guitar on "European Son" was his way of trying to imitate the jazz saxophonist.


Lou Reed's sister said that during her brother's time at Syracuse, the university authorities had tried unsuccessfully to expel him because they did not approve of his extracurricular activities.


Lou Reed later dedicated the song "European Son", from the first Velvet Underground album, to Schwartz.


In 1982, Lou Reed recorded "My House" from his album The Blue Mask as a tribute to his late mentor.

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Lou Reed later said that his goals as a writer were "to bring the sensitivities of the novel to rock music" or to write the Great American Novel in a record album.


Lou Reed met Sterling Morrison, a student at City University of New York, while the latter was visiting mutual friend, and fellow Syracuse student, Jim Tucker.


Lou Reed moved to New York City in 1964 to work as an in-house songwriter for Pickwick Records.


Lou Reed can be heard singing lead on two cuts on The Surfsiders Sing The Beach Boys Songbook.


For Pickwick, Lou Reed 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".


Lou Reed's employers felt that the song had hit potential, and assembled a supporting band to help promote the recording.


Cale and Conrad were surprised to find that for "The Ostrich", Lou Reed tuned each string of his guitar to the same note, which they began to call his "ostrich guitar" tuning.


Lou Reed was replaced on drums by Moe Tucker, the sister of Reed and Morrison's mutual friend Jim Tucker.


Lou Reed was the main singer and songwriter in the band.


Lou Reed rarely gave an interview without paying homage to Warhol as a mentor.


In September 1968, Lou Reed told Morrison and Tucker that he would dissolve the band if they did not let him fire Cale; they agreed, and Lou Reed had Morrison inform Cale of his firing.


The band now took on a more pop-oriented sound and acted more as a vehicle for Lou Reed to develop his songwriting craft.


Lou Reed signed a recording contract with RCA Records in 1971 and recorded his first solo album at Morgan Studios in Willesden, London with session musicians including Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman from the band Yes.


The album, Lou Reed, contained versions of unreleased Velvet Underground songs, some of which had originally been recorded for Loaded but shelved.


Several years later, Bowie and Lou Reed fell out during a late-night meeting which led to Lou Reed hitting Bowie.


Lou Reed hired a local New York bar-band, the Tots, to tour in support of Transformer and spent much of 1972 and early 1973 on the road with them.


Lou Reed chose keyboardist Moogy Klingman to come up with a new five-member band on barely a week's notice.


Lou Reed later said he had been a violent drunk when on tour.


In October 2019, an audio tape of publicly unknown music by Lou Reed, based on Warhol's 1975 book, "The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again", was reported to have been discovered in an archive at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Lou Reed's album Metal Machine Music was an hour of modulated feedback and guitar effects.

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Lou Reed took on a watchful, competitive and sometimes dismissive attitude towards punk.


Aware that he had inspired them, he regularly attended shows at CBGB to track the artistic and commercial development of numerous punk bands, and a cover illustration and interview of Lou Reed appeared in the first issue of Punk magazine by Legs McNeil.


Lou Reed released his third live album, Live: Take No Prisoners, in 1978; some critics thought it was his "bravest work yet", while others considered it his "silliest".


Around this time Lou Reed appeared as a record producer in Paul Simon's film One-Trick Pony.


From around 1979 Lou Reed began to wean himself off drugs.


Morales inspired Lou Reed to write several songs, particularly "Think It Over" from 1980's Growing Up in Public and "Heavenly Arms" from 1982's The Blue Mask.


On September 22,1985, Lou Reed performed at the first Farm Aid concert in Champaign, Illinois.


Lou Reed appeared on Steven Van Zandt's 1985 anti-Apartheid song "Sun City", pledging not to play at that resort.


Lou Reed was nominated for a Grammy Award for best male rock vocal performance for the album.


Lou Reed met John Cale for the first time in several years at Warhol's funeral in 1987.


Lou Reed had released his sixteenth solo album, Magic and Loss, in January 1992.


In February 1996 Reed released Set the Twilight Reeling, and later that year, Reed contributed songs and music to Time Rocker, a theatrical interpretation of H G Wells' The Time Machine by experimental director Robert Wilson.


From 1992, Lou Reed was romantically linked to avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson, and the two worked together on several recordings.


In February 2000, Lou Reed worked with Robert Wilson at the Thalia Theater again, on POEtry, another production inspired by the works of a 19th-century writer, this time Edgar Allan Poe.


In January 2003, Lou Reed released a 2-CD set, The Raven, based on POEtry.


In May 2000, Lou Reed performed before Pope John Paul II at the Great Jubilee Concert in Rome.


In 2001, Lou Reed made a cameo appearance in the movie adaptation of Prozac Nation.


On October 6,2001, the New York Times published a Lou Reed poem called "Laurie Sadly Listening" in which he reflects on the September 11 attacks.


Incorrect reports of Lou Reed's death were broadcast by numerous US radio stations in 2001, caused by a hoax email which said he had died of a drug overdose.


In 2003, Lou Reed released a book of photographs, Emotions in Action.

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In October 2006, Lou Reed appeared at Hal Willner's Leonard Cohen tribute show "Came So Far for Beauty" in Dublin, along with Laurie Anderson, Nick Cave, Anohni, Jarvis Cocker, and Beth Orton.


Lou Reed played a heavy metal version of Cohen's "The Stranger Song".


Lou Reed played with guitarist Steve Hunter, who played on the original album and Rock 'n' Roll Animal, and was joined by singers Anohni and Sharon Jones.


In 2010, Lou Reed featured on the song "Some Kind of Nature" with virtual band Gorillaz, from their third studio album Plastic Beach.


In October 2011, Metallica and Lou Reed released the collaboration album Lulu.


In 2012, Lou Reed collaborated with indie rock band Metric on "The Wanderlust", the tenth track on their fifth studio album Synthetica.


Lou Reed had suffered from hepatitis and diabetes for several years.


Lou Reed practiced tai chi during the last part of his life.


Lou Reed was treated with interferons but developed liver cancer.


Lou Reed was cremated and the ashes were given to his family.


Lou Reed's estate was valued at $30 million, $20 million of which accrued after his death.


Lou Reed left everything to his wife and his sister.


Lou Reed was inducted by Patti Smith at a ceremony in Cleveland on April 18,2015.


In June 2022, the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center hosted the "Lou Reed: Caught Between the Twisted Stars", the first exhibition drawn from Reed's archive.


In 2015, in the unofficial biography Notes From The Velvet Underground, biographer Howard Sounes described Lou Reed as having been misogynistic and violent toward women he was in relationships with and racist, having called Donna Summer and Bob Dylan racial and ethnic slurs.


Lou Reed's main guitar during the Velvet Underground era was a 1964 Gretsch Country Gentleman, which he modified extensively, to the extent that it became unplayable.


Lou Reed played various stock Fender Telecasters, later favoring models that were built specifically for him, such as the Rick Kelly 'Lou Reed's T' Custom Telecaster and the Fender Custom Shop Danny Gatton Telecaster.


Lou Reed has played various other electric guitars throughout his career:.