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Lou Reed was an asshole.

November 26, 2013

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So its official, Lou Reed is dead. With him dies part of the age of great rock and rollers.

Whether you listened to his stuff or not, I’m sure many of you have at least heard ‘Perfect Day’. To to frank, I was born long after his heyday. I was pretty young even when the Beeb did that weird cover with everyone from Bono to Bowie in it. Are people even talking about him a few weeks after his death? I would wager not. The conversation has moved on, because no-one has the time to decompress, to look back, to revisit things.

With Lou Reed its even harder, because whilst he skirted the mainstream every now and then, hes never seemed to consciously do it, even rejecting it if it got too overbearing and started to interfere with what he wanted to do. Most of his music will be impenetrable to anyone who doesn’t have their eye on change, who doesn’t rebel at the thought of seeing their favorite bands play the same 10 songs over and over again for their entire career. He tanked his own mainstream career with Metal Machine Music, despite it being a precursor to most Industrial music that exists today. 

From the stories I’ve read, he didn’t particularly get on with people well either. So theres one inescapable conclusion I can make of Lou Reed. He did what he wanted and he wouldn’t mince words. That was part of the reason his fans loved him. The unwillingness to compromise on what he wanted to do, write or say. Its so rare in a world today, where everyone’s so eager to make it they won’t say a bad word about anyone. Not even rock bands!

By just being him, he approached topics with such an intensity and truth about them, that he was talking about transvestite and transgender sex workers back when most people didn’t even know they existed, or if they did, it was a taboo topic, full of stigma and shame.

Not many people can say they did everything they wanted. Not even Lou I bet. But he came damn close I think. Even with all his wrinkles and his imperfections, he was an artist.

So one last time, take a walk on the wild side. Rest in peace you asshole. 

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From → Listening, Reading

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