Lou Reed, 71, has died at his home in Long Island. The cause of death of the influential singer songwriter has not yet been released but may be related to a liver transplant five months ago.
Lou Reed, who found fame with the Velvet Underground and rose swiftly to the upper echelons of the rock aristocracy with his Warhol inspired album Transformer in 1972, was referred to today by Rolling Stone magazine as “a restlessly inventive solo artist… chameleonic, thorny and unpredictable, challenging his fans at every turn”.
Reed was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Freeport, Long Island, New York. In 1956, Reed, who was bisexual, received electroconvulsive therapy as a teenager, which was supposed to ‘cure’ him. This failed.
He started as a songwriter at Pickwick Records where he met John Cale, later forming the Velvet Underground, a commercial failure of the late 1960s later becoming an iconic musical reference point, with Andy Warhol later becoming their manager.
Early albums failed to sell in significant quantities but Loaded showed promise leading to solo album Transformer in 1972, produced by Bowie and packed with hits such as Walk on the Wild Side and Perfect Day.
Reeds irascible and often irritable personality, mellowed over time unlike his huge influence on later generations of rock and roll successes. Reid kicked drugs in the early 1980s and married twice.