Lou Reed, Legendary Singer of the Velvet Underground, Dead at 71

Multiple outlets, including Rolling Stone, are reporting that legendary rock musician Lou Reed passed away Sunday.

The cause of death is unknown, though Reed underwent a liver transplant in May.

Reed was the co-founder and lead singer of the Velvet Underground, one of the most influential American rock bands of all time. Reed’s detached, uninflected vocals, combined with the band’s often monochromatic approach to chord progressions and melody, captured the jaded New York City spirit of the late 60s.

His connection to Andy Warhol, meanwhile, assimilated Reed into the thriving avant garde art scene, resulting in the band influencing rock’s iconography as much as its sound. For all that, the Velvet Underground’s biggest single, “Sweet Jane,” was an up-tempo tune that still gets plenty of plays on classic rock stations.

Reed’s later solo work was more experimental—the noise-rock album Metal Machine Music has been described as the worst album ever made more than once—but also yielded multiple rewards, among them “Walk on the Wild Side, “Perfect Day,” “Satellite of Love,” and more, often featuring lyrics and imagery darker and dirtier than his contemporaries’.

His unorthodox career most recently included an album-length recital of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven,” and a widely-mocked collaboration with Metallica called Lulu—his final recording.

[h/t Rolling Stone]

[Image via GQ]

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