All posts tagged: Lou Reed

Laurie Anderson on Steering Lou Reed’s Legacy: “It’s a Wild Way to Be With Your Partner”

Laurie Anderson on Steering Lou Reed’s Legacy: “It’s a Wild Way to Be With Your Partner”

It’s always been somewhat obvious that Lou Reed’s sneering persona and transgressive antics were cover for a sensitive soul. This is a man who escaped the stultifying suburbs of 1950s Long Island, found a place at the Warhol Factory, and then helped revolutionize rock and roll by telling the stories of junkies, drag queens, street hustlers, and other denizens of New York City’s underbelly, first as the leader of the Velvet Underground and then as a solo artist. For all his aggressive posturing, and sometimes genuinely bad behavior, Reed was a purveyor of empathy above all. He helped the rest of us understand what it’s like to be on, or beyond, the edges of society. But the persona made quite an impression, especially since he was such a ubiquitous New York character until his death in 2013 at age 71. I met him a few times, and he was always suitably grumpy. The one time I interviewed him, for this magazine, he hung up on me. I don’t think he was offended by anything I …

‘Murder in Boston’ Has the Final Word on a Notorious Killing

‘Murder in Boston’ Has the Final Word on a Notorious Killing

In October 1991, Mark Wahlberg’s erstwhile hip-hop crew, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, released “Wildside,” the second single from their debut studio album, Music for the People. The Boston group sampled Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” reinterpreting the rock classic as a rap anthem that warned of the dangers lurking in their New England hometown. With no surplus of elegance, the song’s third verse tackled the October 1989 murder of Carol Stuart, a crime that roiled the city: “Charles and his brother came up with a plan / Kill Carol, collect a big check / Blame it on a Black man. What the heck!” “Wildside” was arguably the most hackneyed narration of that case, in which Carol’s husband, Charles, conspired to kill her for insurance money, then told the police that they’d been attacked by a Black man. (Both of the Stuarts were white.) But the Funky Bunch wasn’t the first to use the Stuart story as entertainment fodder. In the first year after Carol’s murder, there was a “special episode” of …

The Least-Known Rock God – The Atlantic

The Least-Known Rock God – The Atlantic

Early in the movie Almost Famous, the gruff journalist Lester Bangs sizes up the young music writer William Miller with a litmus test: “And you like Lou Reed?” William, at once cocky and nervous, stumbles as he tries to impress his elder. He tells Bangs he’s into “the early stuff” but that these days (the 1970s), Reed is trying to be David Bowie. Wrong! Bangs proceeds to school William, and perhaps the film’s audience: It’s Bowie who’s “doing Lou.” William is a fictional character based on the filmmaker Cameron Crowe’s teenage self, but Bangs was a real music critic, and he was very much obsessed with Reed, putting him on a pedestal not unlike the way others deified Bob Dylan. Bangs wasn’t the only one to recognize Reed’s genius. Nevertheless, Reed and his former band, the Velvet Underground, have never fully penetrated the casual music fan’s mind. The Velvets are perpetually shirked or misunderstood—more “heard of” than heard. Certain bands, such as the Beatles, eventually come for us all, but you have to go out …