Published on October 29th, 2013 | by Ben Adsett0
The Passing Of An Icon
To almost entirely echo the wonderful words of Yaz I am also adding a gushy collection of words detailing why I, like many other music fans, love the work of Lou Reed and am incredibly sad to hear of his passing.
It seems both Yaz and I share a almost identical musical introduction to Reed’s work. I think I was about 16 when I heard the Velvet Underground & Nico at my uncle’s flat, and after expressing an enjoyment he played me Transformer. This flat, looking onto a main road in Cheltenham, was home to many a musical revelation and I am eternally grateful for this one. To this day both of these records are among my favourites and at least one would regularly hit my Top 5 of all time, depending on the day.
I remember being completely blown away track by track and can map the moment I fell in love with the Velvet Underground as the opening of Venus In Furs; the uncomfortable balance between Reed’s haunting voice and the almost painful strings hiding behind eerily is sublime. Listening back to this record it amazes me that it took four tracks to fall in love as now from the first to last note of this album the hairs on the back of my neck stand bolt upright. Transformer was an album that had far more of the love at first note effect on me as soon as the guitar cut across the rhythm section on Vicious I knew I had found a gem.
This incredible pair of records opened up my musical mind from a dangerous obsession with cliché American punk bands, like Anti-Flag and Rancid, and the skacore of Adequate Seven, Capdown and Less Than Jake. I still love all five of those bands in a nostalgic way and three of them have made albums I still love but the styles are slightly limited. Looking into the work of each of these bands you can see the effect that Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground have had on them, whether it’s in the form of artwork, lyrics or musicianship. Simply without The Velvet Underground there would have been no punk to develop into Rancid’s seminal …And Out Come The Wolves and a seventeen year old me would have never walked around with a shit mohawk.
To me Lou Reed’s musical legacy is amongst the reasons I love music and write/talk/rant so regularly about it. Whether it’s the Velvet Underground’s unarguable contribution to punk music, and as a result almost every album I have ever fallen in love with, or if it’s just two records which opened my mind, Lou Reed’s genius has had a profound effect on my life and I am gutted I will never see another live performance from this icon.