When it came to bucking styles and starting controversial new musical trends, Lou Reed was an artist that you could always count on to follow his own style and not kowtow to mainstream trends. While it never made him a radio pop star, in his life Lou Reed was likely one of the most influential American musicians for the avant-garde over the past century. His recent death marks the end of an era in our country’s rock history.
Famous for his aggressive musical and personal style, Reed found his earliest successes with the Velvet Underground. Located in New York City, playing most at the famed Andy Warhol Factory, the group gained appeal with fans because of Reed’s expressive lyrics, which he accompanied perfectly on guitar. The Velvet Underground became the new voice of the city with explicit lyrics and subject matter that earlier rock acts shied away from.
“Sweet Jane” is one classic Velvet Underground song that shows why the group’s sound was so successful. Reed’s lyrics in this song are narrative, but the way he delivers his vocals add an entire level of cynicism to the story. Fans love to join in on the chorus of this song, where Reed screams the title repeatedly in a high tenor.
For a lighter, more conversational tone, “Walk on the Wild Side” is a poignant song and one of Reed’s greatest all-time hits. Some controversies in the lyrics of this track kept it from seeing major radio play since being released, but it’s an incredibly familiar track that has introduced many to the sounds of Lou Reed. Oftentimes, “Walk on the Wild Side” can be heard at weddings, bringing people of all ages to the dance floor where they groove to the sounds of mystical New York.
Although Reed himself was never as famous as other contemporaries, like the Beatles or Bob Dylan, he was just as influential, if not more so to generations of alternative musicians. As this CBSNews.com article implies, Reed’s influence was often inversely proportional to his commercial success. “The first Velvet Underground record sold 30,000 copies in the first five years,” said renowned music producer Brian Eno, as quoted in the CBSNews.com article. “I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band!”
Even if he may not get much airplay during weddings, A Special Event DJ wants to take a moment to salute one of America’s most groundbreaking talents in rock music. If you want to add some interesting indie or alternative rock selections to your next party, give us a call to see what options we have available for you!
*Video courtesy of d1sintegration