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Lou Reed Was 'A Prince and a Fighter,' Laurie Anderson Recalls

Rocker's wife pays tribute to 'incredible joy he felt for life'

Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed.
Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
November 1, 2013 8:50 AM ET

Laurie Anderson remembered her husband Lou Reed as "a prince and a fighter" and for "the incredible joy he felt for life" in a letter published yesterday in The East Hampton Star on Long Island. Reed died Sunday at 71 of liver disease while the couple were at their home in Springs, New York.

"Lou was a tai chi master and spent his last days here being happy and dazzled by the beauty and power and softness of nature," Anderson wrote. "He died on Sunday morning looking at the trees and doing the famous 21 form of tai chi with just his musician hands moving through the air."

Lou Reed, Velvet Underground Leader and Rock Pioneer, Dead at 71

Reed and Anderson, a performance artist and musician, began dating in the late Nineties and married in 2008. Her most recent album was Homeland in 2010.

Here's her letter to The Star:

To our neighbors:

What a beautiful fall! Everything shimmering and golden and all that incredible soft light. Water surrounding us.

Lou and I have spent a lot of time here in the past few years, and even though we're city people this is our spiritual home.
Last week I promised Lou to get him out of the hospital and come home to Springs. And we made it!

Lou was a tai chi master and spent his last days here being happy and dazzled by the beauty and power and softness of nature. He died on Sunday morning looking at the trees and doing the famous 21 form of tai chi with just his musician hands moving through the air.

Lou was a prince and a fighter and I know his songs of the pain and beauty in the world will fill many people with the incredible joy he felt for life. Long live the beauty that comes down and through and onto all of us.

 Laurie Anderson
his loving wife and eternal friend

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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