Music Monday: Lou Reed

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! The unexpected death of Lou Reed on Sunday morning was the kind of thing that Scott couldn't just ignore. Next week, you'll see the Music Monday he planned to run. This week? A very quick farewell to the grandfather of everything we consider to be modern rock.

Lou Reed - Dorita (The Spirit)

 

When Magic & Loss was released, I remember an interview with where someone suggested that this album would be the best epitaph Lou Reed could ever want. Lou snidely answered that when he died, everyone would play "Walk On The Wild Side" all day. In his honor, you're not going to find that radio hit in the Music Monday today. Instead, you'll find all the great stuff he did that the radio never played. Maybe you'll prefer it too. I sure do.

We'll all say our goodbyes after the jump.

Lou Reed & John Cale - Songs For Drella

 

About a month ago, I finally got around to picking up my vinyl copy of Songs For Drella. I still haven't even played it yet. But this was the record that really started me on Lou Reed, a beautiful bio-record of Andy Warhol and, really, the songwriter himself. I remember how it fit when I learned that Lou Reed was trying to bring the novel into rock. And I still to this day think of the 550 shoes in "Open House" when I have a lot of work to do before I go home from work.

The California E.A.R. Unit - Metal Machine Music

 

Everyone knows about Lou Reed's "unlistenable" guitar piece, but not everyone would think a classical orchestra would attempt it. There isn't much to add to a description of the piece, either you like it or you don't, but you can't deny it was daring. To the best of my knowledge, Lou Reed always maintained it wasn't just a big middle finger to his label, and I believe him. Put on headphones and really listen to the original and you might start to hear the melodies in the madness. It's the sort of beauty you might find listening to a traffic jam from within a city park.

Lou Reed - N.Y. Stars

 

Brian Eno's the one who pointed out that almost nobody bought the first Velvet Underground record in the first year, but everyone who did when on to start a band. Lou Reed's style and fashion influenced damn near everybody that's picked up a guitar since 1968, either directly or indirectly. Without Lou Reed, there might not have been a David Bowie, or a Sonic Youth, or a Jack White or a Nirvana. Like Bob Dylan and Morrissey, even the people who hate the voice kinda like the songs when they're covered.

The Velvet Underground - Rock & Roll

 

Lou Reed's last record, Lulu, was with Metallica, and was possibly the worst thing a human being has ever recorded on purpose. And yet, that only seems right. Even in his late sixties, Lou Reed was still doing whatever the Hell he wanted, no matter how many people held up their hands and screamed. And why? Because more than anything else he believed in rock & roll. Like some Gatsby-esque hero, he knew that if he kept his eyes on the prize, it was just gonna be all right. And it was. It really was. Rest in peace, Lou Reed. Hope Heaven's a lot like New York.

As always, stop by our Turntable.fm room for the regular Music Monday enjoyment. And let us just remind you: some images come from the corresponding Wikipedia pages and are here under fair use.