Sixteen of Lou Reed's solo recordings will comprise a new box set due out this fall. The RCA & Arista Album Collection spans the late Velvet Underground frontman's albums between 1972 and 1986. Reed spent the months prior to his death in 2013 remastering each of the LPs, which include Transformer, Berlin and Rock 'n' Roll Animal, among many others. The box set will come out on October 7th.
In addition to the collection's 17 discs (live record Take No Prisoners spans two CDs), The RCA & Arista Album Collection contains five 8-by-10 art prints and a reproduction of a rare promotional poster. It also features an 80-page book that includes memorabilia from Reed's private collection, interviews with Reed and rarely seen artwork and photos and liner notes by co-producer Hal Willner.
Musician and Reed's wife Laurie Anderson explained the significance of the collection in a statement. "Our first date was a trip to the AES (Audio Engineering Society) convention," she said. "As wireheads Lou and I loved beautiful recordings and spent years making our studios, instruments and gear the best they could possibly be. Lou put his heart into remastering these records. They are not smoothed out. Sometimes remastering revealed their details and roughness in the most exciting ways. They leap out at you with their original energy.
"I also love the rare images and the great selection of Lou's words about his music in this collection," she continued. "Lou was a superb analyst and sharp critic and the interview excerpts bring back his crazy sense of humor, his generosity and his big view of the world and the meaning of music. Anyone who has loved Lou's music will be so happy to have this. I'm really grateful to Sony for putting this one out."
Similarly, producer Hal Willner wrote in the box set's liner notes how gratifying it was to watch Reed listen to many of his past works, as they remastered the albums in June and July of 2013. "This box set was Lou's last project," he wrote. "Everyone who was in that room or around Lou during this period witnessed a beautiful thing as he enthusiastically relived that whole period of his work with the joy of rediscovery, excitedly pointing out subtleties in sounds he hadn't heard in years. In retrospect, reminiscing about these sessions done less than four months before he died, the moments seem even more magnified."
In addition to the box set, Willner and Anderson have also curated an event in tribute to Reed in New York City this summer. The Bells: A Day Long Celebration of Lou Reed will take place beginning at 10:30 a.m. on July 30th as part of Lincoln Center's Out of Doors Festival. Details for the occasion have yet to be revealed.
The RCA & Arista Album Collection Contents:
Lou Reed (April 1972)
Transformer (November 1972)
Berlin (July 1973)
Rock 'n' Roll Animal (February 1974)
Sally Can't Dance (August 1974)
Metal Machine Music (July 1975)
Coney Island Baby (December 1975)
Rock and Roll Heart (October 1976)
Street Hassle (February 1978)
Lou Reed Live: Take No Prisoners (November 1978)
The Bells (April 1979)
Growing Up in Public (April 1980)
The Blue Mask (February 1982)
Legendary Hearts (March 1983)
New Sensations (April 1984)
Mistrial (June 1986)