There’s a good chance that music fans of a certain couple of generations, perhaps even subconsciously, will automatically complete the next line of Lou Reed’s 1972 classic “Walk on the Wild Side,” which is, “Hitchhiked her way across the U.S.A.”
Reed died Sunday at age 71. Within hours, the tributes to Reed’s talents started flowing. His work with the Velvet Underground and as a solo artist was heralded as groundbreaking, influential and cool. That last one in the list kept coming up.
We’d add he even stayed cool after “Wild Side” was used to sell motor scooters in the mid-1980s.
Reed’s first Velvet Underground album was said to have sold relatively few copies. However, each copy was bought by someone who started a band, so the saying goes. Nirvana, R.E.M., the Talking Heads and countless others cited Reed as an influence.
Rolling Stone’s tribute noted that Reed “fused street-level urgency with elements of European avant-garde music, marrying beauty and noise, while bringing a whole new lyrical honesty to rock & roll poetry.”
Our favorite ode came from the Scotsman newspaper: “Lou Reed was a vicious, uncompromising, pretentious narcissist who epitomised everything sleazy and hard-bitten about rock ’n’ roll. He also had faults.”
That about sums it up.