Lou Reed RIP: A Final Walk On the Wild Side
Growing up in suburban New York, Reed’s family subjected him to electro-shock therapy to try to “cure” his bi-sexuality. He later went on to study at Syracuse University under his mentor Delmore Schwartz, before settling in to become one of New York City’s most beloved musicians and lyricists, known for his poetry as well as his prose. Perhaps most significantly, Reed was one of the founding members of The Velvet Underground, the name taken from a book on sexual practices of suburbanites. His defiant nature comes across in his songs, even though he’s also known for a monotonistic, conversational style.
In recent years, Reed pursued different avenues for his creativity. He directed a documentary about his cousin, a Holocaust survivor, and more recently, provided the voice-over for the film AKA Doc Pomus about his dear friend and lyricist, Doc Pomus. Reed’s cover of “This Magic Moment” is used for the film’s closing credits.
Reed’s biggest hit, “Walk on the Wild Side,” was from Transformer (1972), his second solo album after leaving The Velvet Underground. "Wild Side" explored the seedier side of New York, glorifying drag queens and drug dealers with an infectious bass line that will always remain instantly identifiable. It is safe to say that few songs have had such a lasting impact on musical culture.
The death of such a musical legend begs the question. If 41 years after its release, "Walk on the Wild Side" is still relevant, what songs from today’s lexicon will be around 41 years from today? Does Miley Cyrus stand a chance? Hopefully not, but only time will tell.
Lou Reed, may the colored girls go “doo, do-doo” forever more.