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Flashback: Lou Reed Plays ‘Candy Says’ At His Final Performance

Seven months before his death, Reed joined Antony and the Johnsons to play this 1969 classic

Today marks the two-year anniversary of Lou Reed’s death. He spent the last few years of his life battling liver cancer, but refused to give into the disease and remained active until nearly the end, devoting himself to tai chi, music, art and his many friends. “Even his very closest friends didn’t actually knew he was dying,” Tony Visconti told Rolling Stone. “But he knew.”

Just seven months before Reed passed away, he joined Antony and the Johnsons onstage at a Paris gig to sing the Velvet Underground classic “Candy Says.” It wound up being his final public performance. “I’m going to watch the blue birds fly,” Reed sang. “Over my shoulder/I’m going to watch them pass me by/Maybe when I’m older/What do you think I’d see/If I could walk away from me.”

Reed was a huge fan of singer Antony Hegarty and they grew close in his final years. “Lou was like a father to me,” Hegarty wrote on Facebook shortly after his death. “I have never felt so perceived and loved for who I actually am by a man than by Lou Reed. He fought tirelessly for me to have a place in the daylight culture. My career would never have taken off without Lou’s tremendous influence. … He faced death with dignity and courage, and even then remained a teacher and mentor to me. I miss him with all my heart. It is hard for me to reconcile that such a giant could really be gone.”

In This Article: Antony and the Johnsons, Lou Reed

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