Lou Reed Dead at 71: One Of History's Great Rock n' Roll Stars

Subscribe to Lou Reed alerts

Lou Reed - one of the most influential rock singer-songwriters of all time - has died aged 71. The legendary Brooklyn born musician had suffered serious health problems earlier this year, though the cause of death remains unknown.

Reed's agent confirmed the news to The Guardian though details remain scant and his representatives could not immediately be reached. 

Reed emerged as one of his generation's most significant rock figures as the frontman and primary songwriter for The Velvet Underground, often considered the most influential rock group in history. Though they failed to achieve initial commercial success, Brian Eno famously claimed everyone who bought one of the 30,000 copies sold in the band's early years went on to start a band. The group's 1967 debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico - with its instantly recognizable Andy Warhol designed cover - is one of the greatest rock and roll albums of all time.

Reed went on to achieve both critical and commercial success as a solo artist, particularly with his 1972 album Transformer, produced by David Bowie and including the much covered single Walk of the Wild Side.

Infamous for his drug use and classically rock and roll lifestyle, Reed was often a spiky interview subject and refused to play by the conventional rules and regulations of rock music. Though a prolific musician, his records often divided critics and 1975's Metal Machine Music was quintessential of Reed's varied output - an early example of noise music featuring no recognizably structured compositions and a record eschewing melody and rhythm. Rolling Stone magazine famously called it "the tubular groaning of a galactic refrigerator."

Arguably, Reed released his last work of note in 1982 - The Blue Mask. In later life, he became an active follower of T-ai Chi and only returned to mainstream rock for a brief collaboration with Metallica. A hard drinker and drug user for years, he underwent a liver transplant earlier this year. 

"I am a triumph of modern medicine," Reed posted on his website on June 1, 2013, "I look forward to being on stage performing, and writing more songs to connect with your hearts and spirits and the universe well into the future."

Lou Reed is survived by his wife Laurie Anderson. 

Lou Reed Hop FarmLou Reed Performing At The Hop Farm Festival in the UK

Lou Reed New York
Lou Reed Attending The Opera in New York



Tags: Lou Reed - Velvet Underground

Subscribe to Lou Reed alerts

More Lou Reed

Green Day One Of Six Artists To Be Inducted Into Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

Esteemed musical institution the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced its class of 2015. The six musical acts to be inducted are: Green...

Macaulay Culkin's Pizza-Themed Tribute Act Receives Death Threats From Fellow Pizza-Themed Act

Few people could have seen Macaulay Culkin's pizza-themed Velvet Underground tribute act, the imaginatively called The Pizza Underground, coming when it emerged on Bandcamp last...

Lou Reed - I'm Waiting for the Man Audio Video

In commemoration of the late legend Lou Reed, The Velvet Underground's 1967 track 'I'm Waiting for the Man' has been re-released alongside his 1975 album...

New Yorkers Remember Lou Reed With Song Instead Of Speech

Fans of the late rocker Lou Reed gathered in New York to pay their respects by singing some of the former Velvet Underground frontman's songs...


Lou Reed's Estate: What He Left, And Who He Left It To

Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed has left his estate to his musician wife Laurie Anderson and other relatives.Reed left his West 11th Street Manhattan penthouse,...

Lou Reed Aims To Continue Caring For His Mother, Sister & Wife Following His Death

As we continue to mourn the death of one of the most iconic and influential rock stars of the last 50 years, it has been...

Laurie Anderson Pays Tribute To Late Husband Lou Reed

Laurie Anderson's husband, Lou Reed, died on Sunday (Oct 27th) of an ailment following a liver transplant earlier this year in May.The rock & roll...

A Week In News: Lou Reed Dies, Celebs Go All Out For Halloween & Marvin Gaye's Kids On The Warpath

The Loss Of Lou Reed: Legendary Velvet Underground rocker Lou Reed died on Sunday 27th October after succumbing to liver disease, having battled with poor...



Lou Reed Newsletter

Subscribe to this news alert service to receive news and reviews on Lou Reed

Unsubscribe | Unsubscribe All