[lang_fr]Lou Reed : Biographie[/lang_fr][lang_en]Lou Reed : Biography[/lang_en]

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Lou Reed né Lewis Alan Reed (né le 2 mars 1942 à Freeport, New York) est un artiste américain qui a débuté sa carrière avec le groupe The Velvet Underground.

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Lou Reed, born Lewis Allen Reed March 2, 1942, is an American rock singer-songwriter and guitarist.

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Il y occupait le poste de guitariste et a composé nombre de titres restés populaires après la séparation du groupe en 1970. Ce groupe a influencé plusieurs générations de compositeurs bien que, dans la deuxième moitié des années 1960, seuls quelques fans connussent véritablement The Velvet Underground.

On attribue à Brian Eno une remarque disant que si seulement quelques milliers de fans achetèrent le premier disque de The Velvet Underground chacun d’entre eux monta un groupe. C’est en cela sans doute que Lou Reed et son groupe restent aussi légendaires malgré la quasi-inexistence de tubes, en contraste avec les autres groupes influents de cette époque.

Lou Reed fait partie des icônes du rock même si son succès commercial fut moindre que d’autres artistes qui ont forgé l’histoire du rock comme par exemple Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, John Lennon.

Ses textes et sa musique ont beau être percutants, leur noirceur (qui atteint son apogée dans son album Berlin) ne leur donne aucun succès auprès du grand public.

Lou Reed « prince de la nuit et des angoisses » a pourtant obtenu un réel succès avec son seul tube, une chanson très sombre et osée Walk on the Wild Side.

Lou Reed vit à New York (I’m a New York city man) où il est né de parents aisés : son père est comptable. Il a grandi à Long Island et a été initié au piano dès l’âge de 5 ans. Mais il se passionne pour le rock and roll, le doo wop, la littérature, le jazz moderne et le free jazz en particulier (Don Cherry et Ornette Coleman notamment) et préfère la guitare, qu’il apprend en copiant les disques de sa collection. En 1958, il co-écrit et enregistre So Blue dans le style doo wop à la guitare au sein des Jades.

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À l’âge de 17 ans, il subit le traumatisme de séances d’électrochocs (suggérées à ses parents par un psychiatre) destinées à le « guérir » de ses tendances homosexuelles. Cette expérience dévastatrice sera évoquée dans la chanson Kill Your Sons en 1975. Il commence à consommer des traitements rendant très dépendant prescrits à la suite des électrochocs, et cherche à exprimer son traumatisme par des paroles souvent d’une grande radicalité : violence, provocation, insolite, réalisme cru, modernité. Il fera d’ailleurs souvent référence, lors de sa carrière, à ces termes crus, durs et choquants, inspirant ainsi plusieurs de ses bijoux. La noirceur et la profondeur des mots du grand Reed naissent de son vécu immoral des bas quartiers, pauvre, sans papiers.

Il suit les cours d’« écriture créative » de Delmore Schwartz, poète et enseignant de littérature classique, qui l’encourage à écrire à l’université de Syracuse et le marque beaucoup. Il rencontre aussi la belle Shelley, avec qui il a une liaison de deux ans. Elle devient pour Lou Reed, qui l’idéalise, une grande source d’inspiration, même après leur séparation.

Après l’université, il travaille en 1964 pour les disques Pickwick en tant qu’auteur compositeur – et parfois interprète. Il y produit des disques de rock imitant les différents styles à la mode pour des compilations à bas prix. Il grave The Ostrich, une « nouvelle danse » absurde sur deux accords, où Lou suggère de mettre sa tête au sol et de marcher dessus avec ses propres pieds. La chanson sera à l’origine du terme « guitare Ostrich » qui désigne un accordage de guitare avec les cordes à vide sur la même note.

Pour les besoins de la promotion, il cherche des musiciens capables de les jouer sur scène et engage John Cale, un pianiste et altiste gallois de formation classique. Cale enregistre à la basse You’re Driving Me Insane et Cycle Annie chantés par Lou Reed sous le nom des Beachnuts et des Roughnecks pour la compilation Soundsville.

John Cale, venu étudier aux États-Unis avec une bourse, évolue dans le milieu de l’avant-garde new-yorkaise et joue alors de l’alto dans le Theater of Eternal Music de LaMonte Young. Il cherche à innover, à choquer. Il ne prend Lou Reed au sérieux que quand celui-ci dévoile les paroles de ses titres personnels, et Heroin en particulier.

Le guitariste Sterling Morrison, un ami de l’université, les rejoint. Ils forment les Warlocks, jouent dans les rues avec une chanteuse, Daryl, puis en 1965 forment le Velvet Underground avec Angus McLise aux tablas. Ils jouent souvent derrière un écran sur lequel sont projetés des films d’avant-garde à la Cinémathèque de Jonas Mekas, et contribuent ainsi à la musique de plusieurs films amateurs. En décembre, Maureen Tucker remplace McLise pour un premier concert payé organisé par Al Aronowicz.

Peu après, ils sont repérés au Café Bizarre par Brigid Polk, une cinéaste marginale qui fréquente l’atelier d’Andy Warhol, un ancien dessinateur publicitaire devenu peintre. Warhol, un homosexuel timide et introverti, connaît alors une grande notoriété avec ses toiles et cherche à se diversifier. Il se présente au Café Bizarre et, avec son associé cinéaste et homme d’affaires Paul Morrissey, décide de devenir le manager du Velvet Underground, qui, fin décembre, vient répéter dans leur atelier, la Factory. Le local est très fréquenté par des artistes et marginaux de l’époque. Warhol leur impose la chanteuse Nico, un mannequin allemand qui, après quelques films (notamment La Dolce Vita de Fellini), un enregistrement avec Serge Gainsbourg en 1962 (Strip-Tease) et un disque produit par le producteur des Rolling Stones Andrew Oldham (I’m Not Saying, 1965), a rejoint la cour des miracles de la Factory.

Warhol finance l’enregistrement de quelques titres dans un petit studio de New York. Il organise ensuite des spectacles multimédias où il reprend le principe de jouer devant un écran de cinéma, mais y projette ses propres films. L’actrice Edie Sedgwick et le poète Gerard Malanga, un fouet de cuir à la main, participent en dansant sur scène.
Le technicien lumières invente littéralement le principe du light-show pour les besoins de l’Exploding Plastic Inevitable, qui après une série de spectacles controversés au Dom de Saint Mark’s Place à Manhattan, part jouer au Trip de Los Angeles, qui est définitivement fermé par le sheriff pour « pornographie » en raison des thèmes sulfureux évoqués par le Velvet Underground : homosexualité, drogue, transsexualité, mort.
Ils marquent fortement les Doors, venus les voir jouer. Warhol finance de nouveaux enregistrements, dont la réalisation artistique est assurée par le producteur de Bob Dylan, Tom Wilson, un Afro-américain qui publie l’album sur le label de jazz dont il est directeur artistique, Verve Records.

The Velvet Underground and Nico paraît en mars 1967. Andy Warhol est auteur de la couverture du disque, une banane autocollante qui, quand on la décolle, révèle un fruit à la la chair rose à côté de la mention « Produced by Andy Warhol ». Nico y interprète trois chansons : All Tomorrow’s Parties, Femme Fatale et I’ll Be Your Mirror.
Lou Reed utilise sur Venus in Furs et All Tomorrow’s Parties son accordage Ostrich. L’album contient des compositions marquantes, comme I’m Waiting for the Man, Heroin, European Son, Sunday Morning.
La réalisation, plutôt bâclée, montre que l’impulsion peut avoir plus d’importance que la finition, et sera une grande inspiration pour le mouvement punk dont cet album est la première pierre fondatrice. L’album choque et n’a aucun succès.

Un deuxième album paraît en décembre 1967, White Light/White Heat, également ignoré à sa sortie sauf d’une poignée de fans. Le groupe atteint un des sommets de sa créativité débridée dans le morceau Sister Ray, réalisé en une seule prise de dix-sept minutes. John Cale quitte peu après le groupe et est remplacé par Doug Yule. Ce dernier participe aux deux albums suivants du groupe : The Velvet Underground (1969) et Loaded (1970).

Avant la sortie de Loaded, Lou Reed quitte le Velvet Underground et la musique pour se retirer chez ses parents jusqu’à la fin 1971.

Le producteur Richard Robinson et sa femme Lisa (Lisa Says) persuadent Lou Reed de revenir à la musique et d’enregistrer en Angleterre un album, auquel participent deux musiciens du groupe Yes Steve Howe et Rick Wakeman. Le disque s’appelle Lou Reed et paraît en 1972 chez RCA. Bien que comprenant de bonnes chansons (I Can’t Stand It, Berlin, Ocean) composées à l’époque du Velvet Underground, l’album déçoit et ne rencontre pas le succès escompté.

Cependant, la même année, avec l’album Transformer, produit par les anglais David Bowie et Mick Ronson, Lou Reed accède enfin au succès auprès du grand public avec la chanson Walk on the Wild Side, qui traite du thème de l’homosexualité et de la vie dans certains quartiers de New York. Il y décrit l’itinéraire de personnages new-yorkais qu’il a connus à l’époque de la Factory, qui plongent dans la déchéance à travers notamment la prise de drogues. En produisant cet album, David Bowie rend hommage à Lou Reed qu’il considérait comme une de ses idoles et surtout comme une source d’inspiration depuis les années Velvet.

L’apogée artistique de Lou Reed sans le Velvet Underground se situe entre 1972 et 1976, avec les albums Berlin (1973) et Coney Island Baby. Ensuite sa discographie recèle des albums qui n’atteindront plus jamais ces hauteurs. Il cherche ses repères avec des albums importants mais déroutants tels que Rock’n Roll heart en 1977 , Street Hassle en 1978 et en 1982 The Blue Mask.

Plusieurs albums live enrichissent sa discographie dont Rock’n Roll Animal paru en 1974 et Lou Reed live, en 1975, qui figurent parmi les meilleurs disques de live du rock et le très drôle Take No Prisoners de 1978.
En 1985, il participe à l’album Sun City contre l’Apartheid à l’initiative de Steven van Zandt. Il a fait l’excellent Live in london de 1998, avec des versions très intéressantes de ses premiers titres ,I’ll be your mirror (premier album Velvet Underground), ou encore de morceaux plus récents comme Sex with your parents (traitant de l’hypocrisie de certains politiques américains). Lou Reed est accompagné dans ce concert par Mike Rathke, qui lui avait insufflé ce nouvel élan avec « New York« , où il adopte le parlé chanté.

En 1989, Lou Reed refait surface avec un album très réussi : New York. À travers cet album dédié à sa ville au son brut et dépouillé, Lou Reed adopte le « parlé chanté », à travers des textes engagés traitant par exemple du sida (The Halloween Parade) et de l’exclusion sociale(Dirty Boulevard). Il y décrit les bas fonds new-yorkais, image des excès du monde moderne sur une musique incisive.

En 1990, paraît un très bel album en hommage à Andy Warhol Songs For Drella, qu’il compose et chante en compagnie de John Cale, son ancien complice du Velvet Underground. Le groupe légendaire se reforme le 15 juin 1989, le temps d’un concert inopiné lors d’une rétrospective Warhol à Jouy-en-Josas, puis en 1993 pour une série de concerts.

Lou Reed signe deux albums qui sont des réussites artistiques Magic and Loss (1992 ) qui traite de la perte des proches et Set the Twilight Reeling ( 1996), dans lequel il rappelle son attachement à New York.

Son dernier album s’intitule The Raven, référence décadente et post-punk à Edgar Allan Poe. Il y reprend deux vieux titres (The Bed’ et ‘Perfect Day), avec David Bowie chantant (Hop Frog) et récite un poème (Le Corbeau – The Raven – de Poe). Cet album est original mais très éloigné du grand public qu’il a du mal à convaincre.

Lou Reed a aussi publié deux volumes regroupant ses œuvres photographiques, Emotion in action et Lou Reed’s New York.

Discographie

Avec le Velvet Underground

* The Velvet Underground and Nico (1967)
* White Light/White Heat (1968)
* The Velvet Underground (1969)
* Loaded (1970)
* 1969: The Velvet Underground Live (1974)
* VU (1985)
* Another View (1986)
* Live MCMXCIII (1993)
* Peel Slowly and See (1995)
* Fully Loaded (1997, version remasterisée de l’album Loaded)
* Bootleg Series Volume 1: The Quine Tapes (2001)

En solo

Albums studio :
* Lou Reed (1972)
* Transformer (1972)
* Berlin (1973)
* Sally Can’t Dance (1974)
* Metal Machine Music (1975)
* Coney Island Baby (1976)
* Rock and Roll Heart (1976)
* Street Hassle (1978)
* The Bells (1979)
* Growing Up in Public (1980)
* The Blue Mask (1982)
* Legendary Hearts (1983)
* New Sensations (1984)
* Mistrial (1986)
* New York (1989)
* Magic and Loss
* Set the Twilight Reeling (1996)
* Ecstasy (2000)
* The Raven (2003)
* Hudson River Wind Meditations (2007)

Albums live
* Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal (1974)
* Lou Reed Live (1975)
* Live: Take No Prisoners (1978)
* Live in Italy (1984)
* Beauty And Rust (1992)
* Live in Concert (1996)
* Perfect Night: Live in London (1998)
* American Poet (2001)
* Animal Serenade (2004)

Collaborations

* Songs for Drella avec John Cale (1990)
* Le Bataclan ’72 avec John Cale et Nico (2004)
* Tranquilize avec The Killers (2007)

Best of et compilations d’inédits

* Walk on the Wild Side: The Best of Lou Reed (1977)
* Rock and Roll Diary: 1967-1980 (1980)
* City Lights (1985)
* Walk on the Wild Side & Other Hits (1992)
* Between Thought and Expression: The Lou Reed Anthology (1992)
* Different Times: Lou Reed in the ’70s (1996)
* Retro (1998)
* A Retrospective (1998)
* The Definitive Collection (1999)
* Perfect Day (1999)
* Very Best of Lou Reed (2000)
* Legendary Lou Reed (2002)
* NYC Man (The Ultimate Collection 1967-2003) (2003)

Bibliographie

* Lou Reed – Electric Dandy, Bruno Blum, Le Serpent à Plumes, Paris, 2001
* « Parole de la nuit sauvage », [Lou REED], 10/18, 1996

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Reed first found prominence as the guitarist and principal singer-songwriter of The Velvet Underground (1965-1973). The band gained relatively little notice during its life, but is now widely considered a foundation of alternative rock, and one of the most important groups of their era.

As the Velvets’ principal songwriter, Reed wrote about subjects of personal experience that rarely had been examined in rock and roll, including sadism and masochism (« Venus in Furs« ), transvestites (« Sister Ray« ), drug culture (« Heroin« , and « I’m Waiting for the Man« ), and transsexuals undergoing lobotomies (« Lady Godiva’s Operation« ). As a guitarist, he was a pioneer in the use of distortion, volume-driven feedback, and nonstandard tunings.

Reed began a long and eclectic solo career in 1971. He had a hit the following year with « Walk on the Wild Side« , though for more than a decade the song seemed to willfully evade mainstream commercial success. One of rock’s most volatile personalities, Reed’s work as a solo artist has frustrated critics wishing for a return of the Velvet Underground.
The most notable example is 1975’s infamous double LP of recorded feedback loops, Metal Machine Music, upon which Reed later commented, « no one is supposed to be able to do a thing like that and survive. » By the late 1980s, however, Reed had won wide recognition as an elder statesman of rock.

Reed was born into a Jewish family in 1942 at Beth El Hospital in Brooklyn , and grew up in Freeport, New York. He developed an early interest in rock and roll and rhythm and blues, and during high school played in a number of bands. His first recording was as a member of a doo wop-style group called The Shades.

Reed received electroconvulsive therapy in his teen years in response to his homosexual behaviour ; his dark 1974 song, « Kill Your Sons », he revisited the experience. In an interview, Reed said of the experience:

“ They put the thing down your throat so you don’t swallow your tongue, and they put electrodes on your head. That’s what was recommended in Rockland County to discourage homosexual feelings. The effect is that you lose your memory and become a vegetable. You can’t read a book because you get to page seventeen and have to go right back to page one again. ”

Reed attended Syracuse University. While at Syracuse he lived at 902 Ackerman Avenue. Though he dropped out, he was later granted an honorary degree in English. While at Syracuse, Reed hosted a late-night radio program on WAER called « Excursions On A Wobbly Rail » (titled after a song by pianist Cecil Taylor, which typically featured doo wop, rhythm and blues and jazz, particularly the free jazz developed from the mid-1950s). Many of Reed’s innovative guitar techniques were inspired by jazz saxophonists, notably Ornette Coleman.

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Noted poet Delmore Schwartz, then in the last years of his life, taught at Syracuse and befriended Reed. He would later record a song, « My House », as a tribute to his late mentor: « My Dedalus to your Bloom was such a perfect wit. » Schwartz’s influence on the aspiring writer seems to have been through encouragement, but Reed also credits him for insisting on use of colloquial language in his writing. He said later 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.

In 1963, Reed moved to New York City, and began working as an in-house songwriter for Pickwick Records. In 1964 he scored a minor hit with the single « The Ostrich », a parodic novelty song of popular « dance songs » such as « The Twist ». His employers had felt the song had hit record potential, and arranged for a band to be assembled around Reed to promote the recording. The ad hoc group, called The Primitives, included musician John Cale. The Welsh Cale had recently moved to New York to study music and was playing with the composer La Monte Young’s Theater of Eternal Music along with Tony Conrad. Cale and Conrad were both surprised to find that for « The Ostrich » Reed tuned each string of his guitar to the same note. This technique created a drone effect similar to that which Cale and Conrad were experimenting with in their avant garde ensemble. By contrast, according to Cale’s memoirs, Reed demonstrated little interest in Cale’s musical pedigree and continually propositioned him for sex. Disappointed with Reed’s performance, Cale was nevertheless impressed by Reed’s early repertoire (including « Heroin »), and a partnership began to evolve.

Reed and Cale lived together on the Lower East Side and, adding Reed’s college acquaintances, guitarist Sterling Morrison and drummer Maureen Tucker to the group, formed The Velvet Underground. Though internally unstable (Cale left in 1968; Reed in 1970) and never commercially viable, the band has a long-standing reputation as one of the most influential underground bands in rock history.

The group caught the attention of Andy Warhol, who raised their profile immeasurably, if not improving their immediate fortunes. Warhol’s associates inspired many of Reed’s songs as he fell into a thriving, multifaceted artistic scene. Reed rarely gives an interview without paying homage to Warhol as a mentor figure. Still, conflict emerged when Warhol had the idea for the group to take on a « chanteuse, » the European former model Nico. Reed and the others registered their objection by entitling their debut album The Velvet Underground and Nico.

Despite his initial resistance, Reed wrote several songs for Nico to sing, and the two were briefly lovers (a distinction later shared with Nico by Cale). At the time, this album reached #131 on the charts. Today, however, it is considered one of the most influential rock albums ever produced, influencing noise rock, punk rock, indie rock and more. Rolling Stone Magazine has it listed as the 13th best rock album of all time. Brian Eno once famously stated that although few people ever bought the album, most of those who did were inspired to form their own band.

By the time the band recorded White Light/White Heat, Nico was dropped and Warhol fired, both against the wishes of Cale. Warhol’s replacement as manager, Steve Sesnick, convinced Reed to drive Cale out of the band. Morrison and Tucker were discomfited by Reed’s tactics but continued with the group. Cale’s replacement was Doug Yule, whom Reed would often facetiously introduce as his younger brother. The group now took on a more pop-oriented sound, and acted more as a vehicle for Reed to develop his songwriting craft. The group released two more albums with this line up: 1969’s The Velvet Underground and 1970’s Loaded. The latter included two of the group’s most popular songs, « Rock and Roll » and « Sweet Jane« .

Reed left the Velvet Underground in 1970, and the rest of the founding members departed soon after, but Doug Yule continued for another three years without him and released one more studio album: 1973’s Squeeze under the Velvet Underground name. Squeeze continues to be a controversial item among critics and VU fans.

After the band’s move to Atlantic’s Cotillion label, their new manager pushed Reed to change the subject matter of his songs to lighter topics in hopes of resulting in more accessible and mainstream music. The band’s album Loaded had taken more time to record than the previous three albums together, and was written and produced to be « loaded with hits, » but had not broken the band through to a wider audience. Reed briefly retired to his parents’ home on Long Island.

After quitting the Velvet Underground in August 1970, Reed took a job at his father’s tax accounting firm as a typist, by his own account earning $40 a week. A year later, however, he signed a recording contract with RCA and recorded his first solo album in England, with musicians on loan from Yes and Elton John, such as Rick Wakeman. The album, simply titled Lou Reed, contained smoothly produced, re-recorded versions of unreleased Velvet Underground songs, some which were originally recorded by the Velvets for Loaded but shelved (see the Peel Slowly and See box set). This first solo album was overlooked by music critics and did not sell any significant units.

In 1972, now a solo artist, Reed released Transformer, which made him a part of the glam rock movement. David Bowie and Mick Ronson co-produced the album and introduced Reed to a wider popular audience. The hit single « Walk on the Wild Side » was both a salute and swipe at the misfits, hustlers, and transvestites in Andy Warhol’s Factory.
The song’s cleverly transgressive lyrics evaded radio censorship. Though musically somewhat atypical for Reed, it eventually became his signature song. The song came about as a result of his commission to compose a soundtrack to a theatrical adaptation of Nelson Algren’s novel of the same name, though the play failed to materialize. Ronson’s arrangements brought out new aspects of Reed’s songs; « Perfect Day« , for example, features delicate strings and soaring dynamics. It was rediscovered in the 1990s and allowed Reed to drop « Walk on the Wild Side » from his concerts.

Though Transformer would prove to be Reed’s commercial and critical pinnacle, there was no small amount of resentment in Reed devoted to the shadow the record cast over the rest of his career. A public argument between the two ended their working relationship, though the cause has never been explained. It is the general consensus that the punch Reed threw was over Bowie’s attempt to produce his next album, but it is not unikely that Bowie made him a more licentious offer. The two would not formally collaborate again until 2003’s The Raven.

Reed followed Transformer with the darker Berlin, which tells the story of two junkies in love in the city of the same name. The songs variously concern domestic abuse (« Caroline Says I« , « Caroline Says II« ), drug addiction (« How Do You Think It Feels« ), adultery and prostitution (« The Kids« ), and suicide (« The Bed« ).

In this period, Reed cultivated a shocking persona and image. He preferred black leather clothes and spiked collars, and he cropped his hair, cutting fascist symbols in it and dyeing it blonde. For many years Reed maintained a deliberately « camp » manner and image, stylistically predicting the heroin twink aesthetic that was to define queer fashion in later years. It was this version of Reed that greeted the public on the cover of Rock n Roll Animal, a successful live album that consolidated the commercial gains he had made with « Walk on the Wild Side. »

Also at this time, Reed publicized his hostile interpersonal style — already known to his former bandmates — with his intense interviews with rock journalists, in particular Lester Bangs. Reed rapidly became known as one of the most difficult rock personalities, a reputation he has maintained even when not using drugs.

His « sick » persona was not entirely put on: heavy drug use plagued the recording of the album Sally Can’t Dance, an R&B-styled collection that hit the U.S. Top Ten, the highest chart performance of Reed’s career. Nevertheless, Reed’s 1960s work held him up as an authentic member of the new « freak scene » in mainstream rock, alongside other protopunk figures as Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Alice Cooper.

As he had done then with Berlin after Transformer, in 1975 Reed responded to his glam rock success with a commercial failure, a double album of electronically generated audio feedback, Metal Machine Music. Critics interpreted it as a gesture of contempt, an attempt to break his contract with RCA or to alienate his less sophisticated fans.
But Reed claimed that the album was a genuine artistic effort, even suggesting that quotations of classical music could be found buried in the feedback. Bangs declared it « genius », though also as psychologically disturbing. The album was reportedly returned to stores by the thousands after a few weeks. Though later admitting that the liner notes’ list of instruments is fictitious and intended as parody, Reed maintains that MMM was and is a serious album. In the 2000s it was adapted for orchestral performance by the German ensemble Zeitkratzer.

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By contrast, 1976’s Coney Island Baby was mainly a warm and mellow album, though for its characters Reed still drew on the underworld of city life. At this time his lover was a transvestite, Rachel, mentioned in the dedication of « Coney Island Baby » and appearing in the photos on the cover of Reed’s 1977 « best of » album, Walk on the Wild Side: The Best of Lou Reed.

While Rock and Roll Heart, his 1976 debut for his new record label Arista, fell short of expectations, Street Hassle (1978) was a return to form in the midst of the punk revolution he had helped to inspire. The Bells (1979) featured jazz great Don Cherry, followed by Growing Up in Public with guitarist Chuck Hammer the following year. Around this period he also appeared as a sleazy record producer in Paul Simon’s film One Trick Pony. Reed also played several unannounced one-off concerts in tiny downtown Manhattan clubs with the likes of Cale, Patti Smith, and David Byrne during the period, but full reconciliation between Cale and Reed was implausible. Cale later wrote the song ‘Woman‘ about Reed on his album ‘BlackAcetate‘.

In 1980 Reed married Sylvia Morales. They were divorced more than a decade later. While together, Morales inspired some of Reed’s strongest love songs, particularly « Think it Over » from 1980’s Growing Up in Public and 1982’s The Blue Mask. After Legendary Hearts (1983) and New Sensations (1984) fared adequately on the charts, Reed was sufficiently rehabilitated as a public figure to become spokesman for Honda scooters.
In 1986 he joined the Amnesty International A Conspiracy of Hope Tour, and was outspoken on his New York’s political issues and personalities on the 1988 album New York, commenting on crime, AIDS, Jesse Jackson, Kurt Waldheim, and even Pope John Paul II.

Reed also took movie roles that echoed aspects of his personality — or at least his reputation. He played « metaphysical folk singer » Auden (a satire of Bob Dylan) in the 1983 Allan Arkush film Get Crazy, for which he wrote and performed the song « Little Sister. » Reed also provided the singing voice for the character Mok in the 1983 film Rock & Rule, and wrote the songs « My Name Is Mok » and « Triumph » for the film’s soundtrack.

Following Warhol’s death during routine surgery in 1987, Reed again collaborated with John Cale on 1990’s Songs for Drella (Drella – Warhol’s nickname – is a portmanteau from the words « Dracula » and « Cinderella »). The album marked an end to a 22-year estrangement. The album took the shape of a Warhol biography; on the album, Reed sings of his love for his late friend, but also criticizes both the doctors who were unable to save Warhol’s life and Warhol’s would-be assassin, Valerie Solanas.

In 1990, following a 20-year hiatus, the Velvet Underground reformed for a Cartier benefit in France. In 1993, the band again reunited and toured throughout Europe, though plans for a North American tour were cancelled following another falling out between Reed and Cale.

In 1994 Reed appeared in A Celebration: The Music of Pete Townshend and The Who, also known as Daltrey Sings Townshend. This was a two-night concert at Carnegie Hall produced by Roger Daltrey of English rock band The Who in celebration of his fiftieth birthday. In 1994 a CD and a VHS video were issued, and in 1998 a DVD was released. Reed performed a radically rearranged version of « Now And Then » from Psychoderelict.

In 1996, the Velvet Underground were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. At the induction ceremony, Reed performed a song entitled « Last Night I Said Goodbye to My Friend » alongside former bandmates John Cale and Maureen Tucker, in dedication to VU guitarist Sterling Morrison, who had died the previous August. Reed has since been nominated for the Rock Hall as a solo artist twice, in 2000 and 2001, but has not been inducted.

Reed continued on those dark notes with Magic and Loss, an album about mortality, inspired by the death of two close friends from cancer. In 1997, over 30 artists covered « Perfect Day » for the BBC’s « Children in Need » appeal. 1996’s Set the Twilight Reeling received a lukewarm reception, but 2000’s Ecstasy – including several tracks originally written for the « Time Rocker » piece – drew praise from most critics, including Robert Christgau.

1996 Also saw the premier of « Time Rocker », an avant-garde theatrical interpretation of H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine staged by theater director Robert Wilson for which Lou Reed contributed songs and music. The piece premiered in the Thalia Theater in Hamburg, Germany and was later also shown at The Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York.

Since the late 1990s, the musician, multi-media and performance artist Laurie Anderson has been romantically linked with Reed, and the two have collaborated on a number of recordings together. Anderson contributed to « Call On Me » from Reed’s project, The Raven, and on the tracks « Rouge » and « Rock Minuet » from Reed’s Ecstasy, and « Hang On To Your Emotions » from Reed’s Set the Twilight Reeling; Reed contributed to « In Our Sleep » from Anderson’s Bright Red and on « One Beautiful Evening » from Anderson’s Life on a String.

In 2000, a new collaboration with Robert Wilson called « Poe-Try » staged at the Thalia Theater in Germany. As with the previous collaboration « Time Rocker », « Poe-Try » was also inspired by the works of a 19th century writer: Edgar Allan Poe. Lou became obsessed with Poe after producer and long-time friend Hal Willner had suggested him to read some of Poe’s text at a Halloween benefit he was curating at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in Brooklyn. For this new collaboration with Robert Willson, Lou Reed reworked and even rewrote some of Poe’s text as well as included some new songs based on the theme explored in the texts.

In 2001, 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 upon the events of 9/11.

Incorrect reports of Reed’s death were broadcast by numerous US radio stations in 2001, caused by a hoax email (purporting to be from Reuters) which said he had died of an overdose.

In 2003, he released a 2-CD set, The Raven, based on « Poe-Try ». Besides Lou Reed and his band (guitarist Mike Rathke, bassist Fernando Saunders and drummer Tony « Thunder » Smith), the album featured a wide range of actors and musicians including singers David Bowie, Laurie Anderson, Kate McGarrigle & Anna McGarrigle, The Blind Boys of Alabama and Antony Hegarty, saxophonist and long-time idol Ornette Coleman, and actors Elizabeth Ashley, Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe, Amanda Plummer, Fisher Stevens and Kate Valk.

The album consisted of songs written by Reed and spoken word performances of reworked and rewritten texts of Edgar Allan Poe by the actors, set to electronic music composed by Reed. At the same time a 1-CD version of the albums, focusing on the music, was also released.

A few months after the release of The Raven, a new 2 CD Best Of-set called NYC Man (The Ultimate Collection 1967-2003), which featured an unreleased version of the song « Who am I » and a selection of career spanning tracks that had been selected, remastered and sequenced under Lou’s own supervision.

In April 2003, Lou Reed embarked on a new world tour supporting both new released, with a band including celliste Jane Scarpantoni and singer Antony Hegarty. During some of the concerts for this tour, the band was joined by Master Ren Guangyi, Lou’s personal Tai Chi instructor, performing Tai Chi movements to the music on stage. This tour was documented in the 2004 double disc live album Animal Serenade, recorded live at The Wiltern in Los Angeles.

2003 also saw the release of Lou’s first book of photographs, called Emotions in Action. This work actually was made up out of 2 books, a larger A4-paper sized called « Emotions » and a smaller one called « Actions » which was laid into the hard cover of the former. After Hours: a Tribute to the Music of Lou Reed was released by Wampus Multimedia in 2003.

In 2004, a Groovefinder remix of his song, « Satellite of Love » (called « Satellite of Love ’04 ») was released. It reached #10 in the UK singles chart. In 2004 Lou Reed contributed vocals and guitar to the track « Fistfull of love » on I Am a Bird Now by Antony and the Johnsons.

In 2005 Reed did a spoken word text on Danish rock band Kashmir’s album No Balance Palace.

In January 2006, a second book of photographs called « Lou Reed’s New York » was released.

At the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards, Reed performed « White Light/White Heat » with The Raconteurs. Later in the night, while co-presenting the award for Best Rock Video with Pink, he exclaimed, apparently unscripted, that « MTV should be playing more rock n’ roll ».

In December of 2006, much to anyone’s surprise, Lou Reed played a first series of show at St. Ann’s Warehouse based on his now legendary 1973 Berlin song cycle. Reed was reunited on stage with guitarist Steve Hunter, who played on the original album as well as on Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal, as well as joined by singers Antony Hegarty and Sharon Jones, pianist Rupert Christie, a horn and string section and the New London Children’s Choir (NLCC), based in north London. The show was being produced by Bob Ezrin, who also produced the original album, and Hal Willner. The stage was designed by painter Julian Schnabel and a film about protagonist ‘Caroline’ directed by his daughter, Lola Schnabel, was being projected to the stage.

The show was also played at the Sydney Festival in January 2007 and throughout Europe during June and July of 2007.

In April 2007 he released ‘Hudson River Wind Meditations‘, his first record of ambient meditation music. The record was released on the Sounds True record label and contains 4 tracks that were said to have been composed just for himself as a guidance for Tai Chi exercise and meditation.

In May of 2007 Reed performed the narration for a screening of Guy Maddin’s silent film The Brand Upon the Brain.

In June 2007 he performed live at the Traffic Festival 2007 in Turin, Italy, a 5-day free event organized by the town.

In August 2007 he went into the studio with The Killers in New York City to record ‘Tranquilize’, a duet with Brandon Flowers for The Killers’ upcoming b-side/rarities album, called Sawdust

October 2007: Lou Reed gives a special performance in the Recitement song ‘Passengers’. ‘Recitement’ is a unique CD that combines music with spoken word. The album is composed by Stephen Emmer and produced by Tony Visconti. Hollandcentraal was inspired by this piece of music and literature and came up with a concept for a music video

Discography

With The Velvet Underground

* The Velvet Underground and Nico (1967) US #171
* White Light/White Heat (1968) US #199
* The Velvet Underground (1969) US #197 (Charted with 1985 re-issue)
* Loaded (1970)
* 1969: The Velvet Underground Live (1974, recorded 1969)
* VU (1985, recorded 1968-1969) US #85, CMJ #10, UK #47
* Another View (1986, recorded 1967-1969)
* Chronicles (1991)
* Live MCMXCIII (1993) US #180, UK #70
* Peel Slowly and See (1995 box set, recorded 1965-1970)
* Fully Loaded (1997, double disc set, recorded 1969-1970, remastered version of album Loaded released in 1970)
* Bootleg Series Volume 1: The Quine Tapes (2001, recorded live 1969)

Solo

Studio albums
* Lou Reed (1972) US #189
* Transformer (1972) US #29, Gold, UK #13
* Berlin (1973) US #98, UK #7
* Sally Can’t Dance (1974) US #10
* Metal Machine Music (1975)
* Coney Island Baby (1976) US #41, UK #52
* Rock and Roll Heart (1976) US #64
* Street Hassle (1978) US #89
* The Bells (1979) US #130
* Growing Up in Public (1980) US #158
* The Blue Mask (1982) US #169
* Legendary Hearts (1983) US #159
* New Sensations (1984) US #54, UK #92
* Mistrial (1986) US #47, UK #69
* New York (1989) US #40, Gold, UK #14
* Magic and Loss (1992) US #80, UK #6
* Set the Twilight Reeling (1996) US #110, UK #26
* Ecstasy (2000) US #183, UK #54
* The Raven (2003)
* Hudson River Wind Meditations (2007)

Live albums
* Rock n Roll Animal (1974) US #45, Gold, UK #26
* Lou Reed Live (1975) US #62
* Live: Take No Prisoners (1978)
* Live in Italy (1984)
* Beauty And Rust (Live in Leysin) (1992)
* Live in Concert (A re-issue of the album Live in Italy ) (1996)
* Perfect Night: Live in London (1998)
* American Poet (2001)
* Animal Serenade (2004)

Singles
* Walk on the Wild Side b/w Perfect Day (1972)#16 US, #10 UK
* Satellite of Love b/w Vicious (1973)
* Satellite of Love ’04 b/w Satellite of Love (2004) #10 UK

Collaborations
* Songs for Drella with John Cale (1990) US #103, UK #22
* Le Bataclan ’72 with John Cale & Nico (2004)
* Collaboration with Zeitkratzer. Review in Synthesis Magazine
* Tranquilize with The Killers (2007). Album Sawdust. Track number 1

Appearances
* Sweet Relief: A Benefit For Victoria Williams (1993)
* The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration, Bob Dylan (1993)
* U2 Zoo TV: Live from Sydney (1993)
* Bright Red, Laurie Anderson (1994)
* Till The Night Is Gone: A Tribute To Doc Pomus (1995)
* September Songs (The Music Of Kurt Weill) (1997)
* Lost Highway Original Soundtrack (1997)
* Closure (Nine Inch Nails tour documentary) (1997) (Uncredited)
* Rockin’ on Broadway (The Time/Brent/Shad Story) (2000, includes first recordings with The Jades (1958) and solo (1962))
* « You Can’t Relive The Past » (Eric Andersen) (2000)
* I Am a Bird Now, Antony and the Johnsons (2005)
* Black Building, Kashmir (2005)
* 2006 MTV Video Music Awards (2006)
* Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys (2006)
* Bright Eyes at The Town Hall, NY (2007)

Compilations
* Walk on the Wild Side: The Best of Lou Reed (1977) US #156
* Rock and Roll Diary: 1967-1980 (1980) US #178
* City Lights (1985)
* Walk on the Wild Side & Other Hits (1992)
* Between Thought and Expression: The Lou Reed Anthology [BOX SET] (1992)
* Different Times: Lou Reed in the ’70s (1996)
* Retro (1998) UK #29
* A Retrospective (1998)
* The Definitive Collection (1999)
* Perfect Day (1999)
* Very Best of Lou Reed (2000)
* Legendary Lou Reed (2002)
* NYC Man (The Ultimate Collection 1967-2003) (2003) UK #31

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