We knew this day would come. In fact, given Lou’s history, the fact that he persisted into the 21st century at all must be considered a minor miracle. Still — a world with Lou Reed in it was a more interesting world, and one we shall not see again.
Lou will not be forgotten, of course. I haven’t sat down and done the hard math on this, but I would guesstimate that of the 100 greatest songs ever written, Lou is responsible for about a dozen. If he had been hit by a bus (or ODed) after The Velvet Underground and Nico came out in 1967, he still would have had a profound impact on rock’n’roll history. As it is his influence is incalculable. So, to hell with calculations. Let’s look back instead at the immortal words of Dr. Thompson, always a comfort at times like these:
[He] was one of God’s own prototypes — a high-powered mutant of some kind who was never even considered for mass production. He was too weird to live and too rare to die — and as far as I’m concerned, that’s just about all that needs to be said about him right now….
He will not be missed — except perhaps in Fat City, where every light in town went dim when we heard he’d finally cashed his check.
What are the songs that you think are in the top 100?
I was listening to the Couch Album (1969) this morning, and every one of those songs is a stone fking classic, with the possible exception of “The Murder Mystery” — which I personally love but wouldn’t necessarily go to the mattresses for. Take at least 5 of those (“Candy Says,” “What Goes On,” “Pale Blue Eyes,” “Jesus,” and “I’m Set Free,” say), add “Waiting for the Man,” “Heroin,” and of course not forgetting “I’ll Be Your Mirror,” then “Sweet Jane,” “Walk on the Wild Side,” “Perfect Day,” and “Satellite of Love,” and we’re already at a dozen. This is leaving off everything from VU and most of Loaded. Subjective of course. I will listen politely to counterarguments.
No argument here.
Eloquently said, my friend. Listened to “Berlin” on vinyl this morning and got suitably depressed. But what a masterpiece! Lou Reed and David Bowie changed everything around for me back in 1973, and I was already way behind the times. Thanks again for the “Sally Can’t Dance” CD. I saw that tour at Winterland. It was painfully loud, almost excruciating. He mimicked shooting up on stage, using the microphone wire to tie off, and the audience roared its approval. Many of the concertgoers looked totally dazed, as if their eardrums had been blown out. It was a bad trip, but I was there! Do you have “Metal Machine Music”?
I’m definitely having trouble saying goodbye this time. Sad Song.