Log In   ·   Become A Member

Lou Reed Dead At 71 At His Hamptons Home

Douglas MacKaye Harrington

  |   1 Comment · Print Article

Avant-garde rocker Lou Reed with his portrait by artist Chuck Close at the opening night reception of the 2013 Guild Hall Summer Gala. (Photo: Douglas MacKaye Harrington)

Avant-garde rock icon and Amagansett resident Lou Read died on Sunday at his home in the Hamptons. Although no cause of death has been officially announced, Reed underwent liver transplant surgery in May and it is believed that his death resulted from liver disease.

Born in Brooklyn in 1942, Reed grew up in Freeport, NY and attended Syracuse University graduating in 1964. He studied under poet Delmore Swartz to whom he credited with his ability to write the clean, minimalist lyrics he would be known for throughout his career. A self taught guitarist Reed moved to New York City after graduation and was hired as an in-house songwriter at Pickwick Records producing a minor hit with "The Ostrich."

In the late 60s he teamed up with Lower East Side roommate Welsh musician John Cale to form The Velvet Underground, a band that although never achieved commercial success proved out to be one of the most influential in rock history. Guitarist Sterling Morrison and drummer Maureen "Mo" Tucker were also members of the band whose debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967), only sold 30,000 copies landing at 171 on the charts. That said, Rolling Stone Magazine named the album the 13th most influential album of all time.

Lou Reed and Chuck Close at the 2013 opening night reception of Close's Guild Hall exhibition. (Photo: Douglas MacKaye Harrington)

Reed left the band in 1970 and started a solo career that continued for the rest of his life producing almost two dozen albums. Transformer (1972) was probably his most successful solo effort resulting in the hit single "Walk on the Wild Side," but Reed considered Live: Take No Prisoners (1978) his best album. Part of the underground art scene that flourished in the 1970s in NYC, Reed was a member of Andy Warhol's cadre of artists and Reed referred to Warhol as a mentor. Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

In 2000 Reed collaborated once again with fellow Hamptonite Robert Wilson of the Watermill Center on a stage production entitled "POEtry" based on the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe which premiered at the Thalia Theater in Germany. Reed had previously collaborated with Wilson on H.G. Wells' "The Time Machine" in 1996. Reed has appeared in films and forged a career as a gifted photographer and poet, with his poem "Laurie Sadly Listening" about the September 11 World Trade Center attack printed in The New York Times on October 6, 2001. In 2012, a bilingual (French and English) book "Lou Reed: Rimes/Rhymes" was published with a compilation of more than 300 photos by Reed.

Looking fit at the time, I saw Lou Reed most recently at the opening night party of the Chuck Close exhibit at Guild Hall as part of the 2013 Guild Hall Summer Gala in August. Close's portrait of Reed was one of the seminal works of the exhibition. Reed incorporated multiple styles of music into his works including jazz and he was an active member of the Jazz Foundation of America. He also lent his name and time to the Free Tibet movement, among the many altruistic causes to which he was associated.

Reed is survived by his wife performance artist Laurie Anderson whom he married in 2008. One of the most influential voices in Rock & Roll, Reed has left an indelible footprint on the industry and an immeasurable impression on generations of artists, guitarists and song writers. He did indeed "Walk on the Wild Side" and fortunately took us along for the ride.

Lou Reed chatting with fellow Hamptonite Alec Baldwin and his wife Hilaria Baldwin at Guild Hall in East Hampton. (Photo: Douglas MacKaye Harrington)

Frequently mistaken for the "Most Interesting Man in the World" from the Dos Equis commercials and the iconic gray-bearded Sean Connery, DMH is the Senior Contributing Editor at Hamptons.com. www.hamptons.com Hamptons HamptonsOnline HamptonsOnline

Related Articles:

Guest (Christy) from United States says::
Lou Reed is my idol. Remember to focus on his contribution to music and his lasting impact on everyone in the world! His legend and influence will continue to grow long after his death. Long live Lou!
Jan 4, 2020 8:11 pm


Submit Your Comment

Please note, you are not currently logged in. Your comment will be submitted as a guest.
To submit your comment as a member, please click here.
Your Name:
* Comments will be reviewed and posted in a timely fashion
* All fields are required
What color is a banana?
(For spam prevention, thanks)
East End Tick Control
The East End's only New York State licensed dedicated tick and mosquito control specialists!

Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home
We pay less,and so do you.With over 1,000 stores in our buying group, we can get the lowest prices from the best flooring manufacturers — and pass the savings on to you.Visit our other locations: Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home, 675 North Sea Road,Southampton, NY 11968

Hamptons luxury real estate specialist for 33 years, Andrea Ackerman offers outstanding expertise in the field.
Hamptons luxury real estate specialist for 34 years, Andrea Ackerman offers outstanding expertise in the field. Trusted, experienced and successful, Andrea has solidified herself as the go-to broker of the Hamptons and a wholehearted advocate for her clients. A pioneer in the real estate industry on the East End of Long Island, she is driven by her passion for the business. Andrea is based in the Bridgehampton office of Brown Harris Stevens as a licensed real estate associate broker and consultant. Formerly, a principal partner and Senior Director at Brown Harris Stevens, Andrea now assists in developing their corporate strategy for the Hamptons region, advising other brokers and sales associates, as well as being one of the top producers and listors.

Southrifty Drug 54 Jagger Lane, Southampton Village
Southrifty Drug is a small, neighborhood pharmacy with limited shelf space, and we have to be very selective about which over-the-counter items we carry. As a result you'll find a no nonsense concentration of very effective, high quality and useful products on our shelves. In this new section, we feature a number of these products that we feel are especially worthy of your consideration.

Burner Law Group, P.C.
Burner Law Group, P.C. are full service elder law attorneys concentrating in the areas of Estate Planning, Trust and Estate Administration and Litigation, Special Needs Planning, Guardianship and Elder Law. Offices in East Setauket‚ NY, Westhampton Beach, NY, and New York, NY.

Suburban Propane in Bridgehampton, New York has been serving proudly supporting our community for 90 years.
Suburban Propane has been serving the energy needs for home owners and business in the Hampton’s for decades. We offer friendly service by local professionals you know and trust, plus the peace of mind that comes from knowing we are among the leaders in the industry for safety.

SGF Acupuncture, PLLC. Is owned and operated By Sandra Geehreng Foster.
SGF Acupuncture, PLLC. Is owned and operated By Sandra Geehreng Foster. Her treatments are based on five element acupuncture. She also offers Far Infrared Sauna treatments. PEMF cellular excerise.