100 Greatest Guitarists

Find out who our panel of top guitarists and other experts picked


Lou Reed

lou reed
Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns

Lou Reed has been blowing traditional guitar styles to bits since his Velvet Underground days. A fan of Ike Turner's R&B and Ornette Coleman's free jazz, he created epic bad-trip psychedelia on songs like "Sister Ray." "He was rightfully quite proud of his own soloing," wrote fellow New York guitar luminary Robert Quine, "but resigned to the fact that most people weren't ready for it." As a solo artist, Reed kept on ripping up the rulebook: See 1975's Metal Machine Music, a noise opus that took feedback further than Hendrix could have imagined.

Key Tracks: "Sister Ray," "Heroin," "Foggy Notion"

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