Lou Reed: The Biography by Victor Bockris
For those of us whose lives were saved by rock ‘n’ roll, the importance of Lou Reed cannot be overstated. But who was Lou Reed, other than a face on an album cover and a distinctive drawl? Now that he’s been gone a couple of years, what do we know about him, truth rather than myth? Tentative answers are beginning to appear.
In Victor Bockris’ compelling account of Reed’s life and career in Transformer: The Complete Lou Reed Story we follow him from his time as a suburban depressive in the Long Island of the ’50s to cover-band geek with a guitar at Syracuse University. We look on as he founds the Velvet Underground, generating it out of the gutter grandeur of downtown New York. Andy Warhol produces their first album. They become anti-rock icons.
If the outlines of Reed’s career are familiar to fans of ’60s and ’70s rock, there is plenty here to satisfy even the hard-core Reedite. His solo career, the druggy period post-Velvets, when Reed sought mainstream success yet also recorded the meant-to-be-unlistenable Metal Machine Music, a full-length lp of feedback and dissonance, is examined here in close-up.
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