It seems fitting that Lou Reed would receive a surge of popularity after passing on. His albums are reentering charts around the globe and the Internet is a frenzy of articles and photos. This has always been the Lou Reed way; blaze a trail and let the curious and maladjusted put together the pieces. If success was measured solely by impact, then Lou Reed was one of rock and roll’s most successful figures. The Velvet Underground was said to have inspired 10,000 bands overnight because the few people who bought their first album were forever shaken. Subsequent VU efforts and Reed’s solo career embraced, embodied and made audible the struggle and degradation of New York’s city streets, giving rise to future subcultures such as punk rock or the New York No Wave scene just to name a few. It was music for the outsider, the junkie, the loner. Despite all of that Reed could also pen one hell of a pop song and hit you with a poignant ballad. The contrast made for one enigmatic figure. Add that to the unpredictability of making an album considered unlistenable by many just to get out of a record contract (1975’s Metal Machine Music) and the reputation of being a real crab and you have a prime example of the dying breed of the true rock and roll legend. A man whose personality flaws and strange decisions (making a terrible album with Metallica) are swept under the rug of his genius and who will continue to inspire those lacking direction or those who fear pursuing a path with a direction that is unclear. One of rock and roll’s last remaining risk takers is gone but we all hold on to the hope that some crazy asshole will take the reigns and make rock and roll dangerous again.

About The Author

Davey Ferchow is a writer/musician based in Long Beach, CA. His writing can be found on his website and information regarding his work with the band Swampland can be accessed at facebook.com/swamplandmusic.

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