On The Sad News Of Lou Reed’s Passing

So Rolling Stone is reporting that Lou Reed has died.  It is a sad moment for rock’n’roll, not unexpected, but a shock nonetheless.  Any worthy assessment of both the best songwriters, and most important figures, in the history of rock’n’roll would put Lou Reed in the same small group that would include Dylan, the Beatles, and the Stones.

It’s not just that the Velvet Underground was a great band.  It’s that they live on in the form of our next two dozen favorite bands; that is, while the Velvets broke up 40 years ago, as we wrote six years ago, many of our favorite bands today completely channel the sound Lou and company created.

In the days ahead, much will be written about Reed’s greatness.  If you really want to cut through it all, just go listen to The Blue Mask and Legendary Hearts.  You don’t even have to go back to the Velvets.  Just play those two albums, which came out back-to-back in the early 1980s, chronicling Lou’s state of mind when he found himself sober, and an adult, and an artist of the first rank.  And now both Lou and his guitarist on those albums, Bob Quine, are gone.  Though truth be told, if in 1973, you’d said that Lou would live to 2013, few would have believed you.

Sad, sad news today.

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