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Remembering Lou Reed: Tributes From Friends and Followers

Mick Jagger, David Byrne, Debbie Harry and more honor a rock icon

musician, Lou Reed, artist, Julian Schnabel, 'Berlin'

Musician Lou Reed (L) and artist Julian Schnabel after the screening of their film 'Berlin' on September 27th, 2007.


He had style – that attitudinal New York hipster style. He was quite rude in interviews, but in person he was actually quite friendly – just not over-effusive. He wasn't a schmoozer, which was good. Everyone talks about punk, but to me he was the Johnny Cash of New York rock; he was always the man in black. I used to have him over occasionally in New York, and later he used to come and visit Mustique [in the West Indies], which is not the most obvious place for Lou Reed to go on vacation. Lots of posh English people. But when I would see him there, he still had that style going on.

The surprise for me was "Walk on the Wild Side." It was melodic, really good, very original, with the background singing and acoustic bass – an original way of presenting him. But "I'm Waiting for the Man" was my first big Lou Reed tune. I liked it because it was so minimalist in the arrangement and the chords – and the guitar sound on it was grunge before there was grunge, way back in 1967.

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Chris Stein

I opened up for Lou in 1967 with my little band from Brooklyn. It was a place on the Upper West Side called the Gymnasium, which was a gym in like a high school or an apartment building or something like that. I'd only seen a handful of electric bands at that time and we're in this big echoey fucking gymnasium and those guys came on and they used echoes and feedback and the reverb of the room was part of their sound. And that was a big clicking moment for me.

The first album coming in the midst of flower power the way it did was phenomenal. Here's this dark brooding thing in the midst of all this cheery shit. How many people had that much impact on popular music? Dylan and Lou and Bowie maybe. He shaped a whole generation of popular music. I went to dinner with him a couple of times, went to a pizza place with him and he was very funny. He was always really super nice to me. The guy was just a shaper of so much music.

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