Musician Lou Reed has died at age 71. Reed, a founding member of the Velvet Underground, shaped modern rock music, influencing punk rock, art and rock & roll. The Velvet Underground were a vital part of Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable (Warhol produced the band’s debut album), and gained a cult following in the 1980s.
Named after a salacious 1960’s book exposing the underground S&M scene, the Velvet Underground’s avant-garde music combining raw energy and desperate themes cemented their mark on 50 years of music.
Reed who suffered from Hepatitis C underwent a liver transplant earlier this year. He was married to musician Laurie Anderson at the time of his death.
Reed’s ambiguous sexual persona and drug use made him a hero to the disaffected, while his musical explorations from the VU to “Transformer” “Metal Machine Music” and “Sally Can’t Dance” showed the range of his musical courage and talent. Reed famously said
My bullshit is worth more than other people’s diamonds.