Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lou Reed 1942-2013

After hearing the news today, I find I am still not able to rationally discuss the impact of Lou Reed on my life.

I remember someone once remarked that the Velvet Underground only had about 200 fans, "but every one of them, started a band." And so, the legend was born; Lou was a legend to other legends. It is hard to describe the impact his work had on those of us who felt marginalized, those of us on the outside.

In so many ways, you had to be there.

I got a tattoo inspired by Lou. Early in recovery, I decided I did not want to be that heartless junkie in the middle-section of Street Hassle, who declares he won't wear his heart on his sleeve, will not become emotional when faced with the death of a stranger.

I knew that I did want to be that person, and that desire, that hope, is what prompted me to save my own life, to search for something better.

I do want to wear my heart on my sleeve. And so I got tattoo of a heart there, to remind me.

Goodbye dear friend. It hurts so much to lose you.


Some people got no choice
and they can never find a voice
To talk with, that they can even call their own
So the first thing that they see
That allows them the right to be
Well, they follow it.

You know, its called
Bad luck.

(from Street Hassle by Lou Reed)


We will be discussing Lou Reed's life and work on the radio show tomorrow.

And I hope to play this:

Rock and Roll - Velvet Underground

You know her life was saved by rock and roll.


Edit and Correction, from the New York Times, it was Brian Eno who said it, and here is their direct quote:

The composer Brian Eno, in an often-quoted interview from 1982, suggested that if the [The Velvet Underground]’s first record sold only 30,000 records during its first five years — a figure probably lower than the reality — “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band.”


EDIT AGAIN 10/28/2013: I was really surprised to find this on YouTube, because, well, it just defies description. It's an 8-minute (spoken) story, and ... to say more is to ruin it. (Just one thing: if you start listening, please continue to the end.)

However, I don't mind telling you, I know the whole thing by heart and can recite it verbatim from memory: "Waldo Jeffers had reached his limit..."

I have never before admitted that out loud. But there it is.

The Gift - Velvet Underground

PS: Happy Halloween! ;)


JoJo said...

There's no doubt he was influential on music and it's sad that we have lost yet another musical icon. I suspect this is going to be a common theme over the next few years.

I wish I had something more to share, Lou-wise...but apart from 'Wild Side', I never cared much for his music. Overall, I am not a fan of the New York music scene as I find it dark & seedy. But I do feel bad for my friends who are fans of Lou b/c I know how much you guys loved him. Very sad indeed.

Blue Heron said...

beautifully put.

Blue Heron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bryce said...

i live with 13 dead cats and a purple dog that wears spats...

Annie said...

I was very much shaped by his music and poetry, too. Rock and Roll Animal was a life saver in my teen years...
"Her life was saved by rock and roll..."
No question!