Iconic American Singer, songwriter Lou Reed no more

Washington, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 28 October 2013, 08:59 AM

71-year-old Iconic American singer-songwriter Lou Reed, a seminal figure who melded folk music's lyricism with punk rock's energy and darkness has died, US media reported on Monday.

Reed's death, first reported by Rolling Stone Magazine, was confirmed by his agent to The Guardian newspaper of Britain. The New York Times said he died on Long Island.

"I'm afraid it's true," his literary agent Andrew Wylie said. "He was as great an artist as it's possible to be in my opinion."

Reed, who was viewed by many as the godfather of punk music, forged a new cultural universe with his arthouse band the Velvet Underground.

He became not only rock's most famous chronicler of city life, but had an indelible influence on generations of rock bands like REM, Nirvana and Sonic Youth, among many others.

The Brooklyn-born singer also spent time as a protege of pop art luminary Andy Warhol, a connection that helped land him a following in the 1960s.

Among his best-known works was "Walk on the Wild Side," an ode to the underground sex- and drug-fueled lifestyle of a cross-dresser, with explosive lyrics, an unforgettable drum-and-bass shuffle and controversial "colored girls" backup singers.

For all of the accolades, not everyone was a fan of Reed's work.

He infuriated critics -- as well as some of his dearest fans -- when he released in 1975 his "Metal Machine Music," a 65-minute noise opus drenched in guitar feedback deemed unlistenable by most who heard it.

In 1979, Rolling Stone magazine derided it as "ear-wrecking electronic sludge."

Yet decades beyond the Velvets' reign as New York's pre-eminent black-clad hipsters, Reed remained cool as ever in the eyes of music aficionados, often seen rocking leather pants and sipping chamomile tea.

First Published: Monday, October 28, 2013 08:54 AM
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