Last Thoughts on Lou Reed

I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so upset by the death of a public figure as I was yesterday on learning of the death of Lou Reed. I am by no means a Reed geek and am mostly ignorant of his output since 1972’s Transformer, but the music I do know is indelibly stamped on my mind and heart. Reed stood at the head of a tendency, call it ‘Punk’ if need be, which produced almost all of the worthwhile rock music of the last 40-odd years, to the immense consolation of my youth and the continuing pleasure of my middle years. Reed showed that rock and roll, like all great art, could and should be as dangerous as life and as serious as death. To freaks and queers, outcasts and outsiders, his was a voice crying in the wilderness of repression and conformity. As a man he survived everything: electro-shock, heroin, the Factory, the nether reaches of rock star depravity. He was a true icon, seemingly immortal, and though I didn’t follow his career in recent years it was always good to know that he was still alive; arrogant, rude, pretentious, bloody-minded, and unbowed by life’s vicissitudes. No more…


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