Musical great Lou Reed dead at 71

Lou Reed with pal Bono

By Shelley Marsden

Lou Reed has died in New York at the age of 71.

Bono once said from the stage that “Every song we’ve ever written was a rip-off of a Lou Reed song”.  He was announcing the New Yorker to the stage to sing a duet of Satellite of Love, during U2’s Zooropa tour, a song that had become a staple of the set.

The U2 singer has also lauded his literary abilities, saying:”Lou Reed is to New York what Mark Twain is to Dublin.”

The singer, who died in Sunday, aged 71, was a giant of music that contemporary bands including The Killers and Kings of Leon citing him as their major influence, and the punk,New Wave and alternative rock movements of the 70s, 80s and 90s all owed their debts to Lou Reed.

Reed died in Southampton, New York and the cause of death has not yet been disclosed. However, the veteran rocker underwent a liver transplant back in May and, according to his literary agent, Andrew Wylie, had been in frail health for months. Reed shared a home n with his wife Laurie Anderson, a fellow musician whom he married in 2008.

Best known as the guitarist and lead singer-songwriter of seminal 1960s band The Velvet Underground, Reed went on to have an illustrious solo career, that spawned hits such as Walk On The Wild Side.

Brian Eno once said of his music: “The first Velvet Underground record sold 30,000 copies in the first five years. I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band.”

Manchester-Irish singer Morrissey spoke to the Telegraph of seeing Reed live as a formative experience. “At the age of 12 I went to see Lou Reed by myself. Which was extraordinary now, on reflection, to go and see Lou Reed at the age of 12 in Manchester and to survive the experience,” the former Smiths frontman told Britain’s Telegraph.

It “seems extraordinary to me now, to imagine a 12- or 13-year-old going by themselves, to see somebody such as Lou Reed who was at the time singing exclusively about transsexuality and heroin and death and the beauty of death and the impossibility of life.”

Many celebrities have taken to Twitter to express their grief. Writer and chef Anthony Bourdain wrote, ‘“heavenly wine and roses…seem to whisper to me….when you smile ..” RIP Lou Reed.’

Courtney Love wrote ‘@loureed my grumpy uncle joe this is so sad, “berlin” will always be the most beloved of the beloved,’.


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