Lou Reed

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Lou Reed was born on March 2, 1942, in Brooklyn, New York. In 1965, he co-founded the Velvet Underground, a rock band managed by Andy Warhol. Reed went solo in the 1970s, scoring a hit with the song “Walk on the Wild Side” and releasing more than 16 albums, including Coney Island Baby and Berlin. He died on October 27, 2013, at age 71.

Early Life

Lou Reed was born Lewis Allan Reed at Beth El Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, on March 2, 1942. He spent most of his childhood in Long Island, where he grew up in a Jewish family. Reed took an early interest in music and played guitar in several bands during his high school years. During this period, he underwent electroshock therapy intended to cure him of his bisexuality.

The Velvet Underground

Reed and Cale recruited Reed's college acquaintances, guitarist Sterling Morrison and drummer Maureen Tucker, to join a band they called the Velvet Underground. The group soon caught the attention of artist Andy Warhol, who incorporated them into his regular parties and introduced them to the New York art scene.

Warhol claimed some ownership of the band, compelling them to take on European model Nico as a singer on their debut album. Despite their resistance, the first Velvet Underground album, called The Velvet Underground & Nico, is considered one of the most influential in rock history. Some of Reed's songs, including “Heroin,” addressed his growing drug use.

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