NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Lou Reed, the punk-poet of rock n’ roll who profoundly influenced generations of musicians as leader of the 1960s cult band Velvet Underground and remained a vital solo performer for decades after, has died.
Reed’s literary agent Andrew Wylie said the legendary musician died Sunday morning in Southampton, Long Island, at age 71, of an ailment related to his recent liver transplant. Reed shared a home in Southampton with his wife and fellow musician, Laurie Anderson, whom he married in 2008.
Tributes to Reed poured out across Twitter Sunday.
Rest in peace, Lou Reed. Your musical influence will never be forgotten.
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) October 27, 2013
I met Lou Reed and told him he gave me tinnitus at a concert in 1989 that never went away and it was worth it. Dirty Blvd. Love to Lou.
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) October 27, 2013
R.I.P. Lou Reed. Just met at the GQ Awards. The music of my generation. Still Relevant!
— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) October 27, 2013
As CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu reported, Velvet Underground drummer Maureen Tucker also talked Sunday about how she will remember the hard-living revolutionary.
“Working with Lou sometimes could be trying — never to me. We learned from each other. We all learn from each other without even realizing it,” she said. “Lou was generous, encouraging, thoughtful, and I loved him very much.”
New Yorkers were also mourning Reed’s loss in Washington Square Park with an acoustic song circle Sunday.
“Just thinking back to all the musical score for a lot of very important days of my life, and then he’s there,” said Todd Marcus of TriBeCa.
“It will be a great loss, because it’s an inspiration to the kind of group music that we actually perform,” added Dan June of Forest Hills, Queens.
The Florida-based band Surface to Air Missive, who were playing the Music Hall of Williamsburg this weekend, are also among those who looked up to Reed.
“He was the first person I ever heard music that made me kick over an amp,” bandmember Taylor Ross said.
Reed never approached the commercial success of such superstars as the Beatles and Bob Dylan, but no songwriter to emerge after Dylan so radically expanded the territory of rock lyrics. And no band did more than the Velvet Underground to open rock music to the avant-garde — to experimental theater, art, literature and film, to William Burroughs and Kurt Weill, to John Cage and Andy Warhol, Reed’s early patron.
As 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten reported, Rolling Stone Magazine called Reed and the Velvets the most influential of all time. The punk, New Wave and alternative rock movements of the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s were all indebted to Reed, whose songs were covered by R.E.M., Nirvana, Patti Smith and countless others, the Associated Press’ Hillel Italie reported.
“The first Velvet Underground record sold 30,000 copies in the first five years,” Brian Eno, who produced albums by Roxy Music and Talking Heads among others, once said. “I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band!”