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Patti Smith: 'Lou Reed Was a Very Special Poet'

Smith tells David Fricke that Reed's live process was a 'revelation'

Patti Smith and Lou Reed.
Richard E. Aaron/Redferns
October 28, 2013 5:25 PM ET

Over the last 24 hours, there's been an outpouring of tributes to rock pioneer Lou Reed, who passed away on Sunday at age 71. Today, David Byrne shared a memory of his time with Reed during his band's early days. Punk rock icon Patti Smith, who ran with Reed in the same downtown New York City scenes in the Seventies, spoke to Rolling Stone's David Fricke about his passing — and specifically how he still inspires her live performances:    

Look Back at Lou Reed's Incredible Life in Photos

Lou was a very special poet – a New York writer in the way that Walt Whitman was a New York poet. One thing I got from Lou, that never went away, was the process of performing live over a beat, improvising poetry, how he moved over three chords for 14 minutes. That was a revelation to me.

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Song Stories

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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