Another loss: Yesterday it was announced that Lou Reed has died aged 71.
Tributes have poured in for the star famous for hits like “Perfect Day” and “Walk on the Wilde side” as well as his work with Andy Warhol’s Velvet Underground.
David Bowie’s Facebook page said of his “old friend”, considered one of the most influential singers and songwriters in rock: “He was a master.”
Reed’s second solo album Transformer, featuring Perfect Day and Walk on the Wild Side, was co-produced by Bowie and they were said to be “lifelong friends”.
Reed’s former Velvet Underground bandmate John Cale wrote on his website: “The world has lost a fine songwriter and poet… I’ve lost my ‘school-yard buddy.'”
Other stars paying tribute included The Who, who tweeted: “RIP Lou Reed. Walk on the peaceful side.”
Iggy Pop said in a personal statement: “”I loved Lou. I admired Lou very much. He was a very genuine person. He was always decent to me. His talent was so wonderful in my life and it gave me great pleasure and guidance. I am sure that his was a worthwhile life, and one he would have enjoyed had it continued longer. He and his wife Laurie were such a good couple.”
British music journalist Charles Shaar Murray told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Reed “completely changed the cultural landscape we inhabit”. Murray added that Reed “did not suffer fools… or journalists gladly”, adding that “he was not considered a likeable man, except by his closest friends”.
He used the “deliberate withholding of charm as a weapon” and “performed to a smallish but loyal audience sufficient in number to sustain a comfortable lifestyle”.
Despite the cold image Lou showed his caring side when defending Michael Jackson during an an onstage conversation with Václav Havel at Prague’s Švandovo divadlo drama theatre. When the former Czech President called the King of Pop boring company and the audience laughed, Lou Reed angrily jumped to Michael’s defense, saying, “He’s a great singer, a great dancer, then there’s all this other stuff and people don’t pay attention… I think Michael Jackson is one of the greatest dancers in the world … the Fred Astaire of our generation.”
Many musicians paid homage to the influence Reed had on their own careers.
Nikki Sixx of heavy metal band Motley Crue tweeted: “RIP Lou Reed. Thank you for your beautiful/dark lyrics/music and stance on life. You inspired me from my teenage years right up till today.”
US singer Cyndi Lauper added that she was grateful for “his music and the influence he had on my music”.
Tom Morello, of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, said: “My intro to Lou Reed/Velvet Underground was Jane’s Addiction cover of ‘Rock n Roll’. He was a singular, unique talent. RIP Lou and thanks.”
The glam, punk and alternative rock movements of the 1970s, 80s and 90s were all indebted to Reed, whose songs were covered by the likes of REM, Bowie, Nirvana, Patti Smith and countless others.
Music producer Brian Eno once summed up their influence by saying: “The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band.” The Velvet Underground were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Lou Reed Reed released 20 studio albums as a solo artist
US actress Mia Farrow, whose career also began in the 1960s, simply said: “Deepest Gratitude Lou Reed. Peace. ”
British author Salman Rushdie expressed his loss by tweeting: “My friend Lou Reed came to the end of his song. So very sad. But hey, Lou, you’ll always take a walk on the wild side. Always a perfect day.”
US actor Samuel L Jackson added: “R.I.P. Lou Reed. Just met at the GQ Awards. The music of my generation. Still Relevant!”
British comic and actor Ricky Gervais described Reed as was “one of the greatest artists of our time”, while presenter and broadcaster Jonathan Ross said of the musician: “A great talent, a nice man, a sad day.”
Author and actor David Walliams remembers: “I had the honour of meeting Lou Reed with Jonathan Ross at a performance of ‘Berlin’. One of the greatest albums and concerts of all time.”
Backing singer Casey Synge describes working with Reed on Walk on the Wild Side
“His lyrics are poetry, really. And he seemed to deal with things that no other writer seemed to really deal with in songs. The Velvet Underground would probably be dealing with drugs, sexuality, everything.”
Members of The Strokes were also mourning the loss of the singer yesterday. Frontman Julian Casablancas tweeted: “Lou Reed is the reason I do everything I do.” The band’s guitarist Albert Hammond Jr meanwhile tweeted: “Still in shock! When I was 18yrs old you forever changed my life and I will never forget that! See you later ?@LouReed.”
Morrissey wrote a heartfelt blog on the True To You website under the title ‘Oh Lou / why did you leave us this way?’. “No words to express the sadness at the death of Lou Reed,” it begins. “He had been there all of my life. He will always be pressed to my heart. Thank God for those, like Lou, who move within their own laws, otherwise imagine how dull the world would be. I knew the Lou of recent years and he was always full of good heart. His music will outlive time itself. We are all timebound, but today, with the loss of liberating Lou, life is a pigsty.”
Members of Sonic Youth also paid tribute, with Kim Gordon writing: “So sorry to hear of Lou Reed s passing this is a huge shock!” The band’s Lee Ranaldo wrote: “RIP Lou Reed. Irreplaceable.”
Chic frontman Nile Rogers recalled the last time he had seen Lou Reed, writing on facebook: “Lou Reed, R.I.P. I did the Jools Holland show with him last year and we yucked it up. I didn’t know he was ill.”
A video tribute: