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Lou Reed, best known as the enormously influential guitarist and vocalist for The Velvet Underground, passed away on Sunday at the age of 71.
It’s a shame that Reed’s name has faded to the background in discussions of the dark, artsy rock that came out of the mid-1960s. Jim Morrison is often seen as the poet of the day, but Reed brought a similar poetic sensibility to the New York-based Velvet Underground.
Reed never shied away from taboo topics, addressing them up front in his lyrics instead of shrouding them in poetry the way Morrison did.
When comparing the two lyricists’ writing styles, it has been said that where Morrison used a club to get his point across, Reed used a needle. Reed was also a genre-bending instrumentalist who went on from his early acclaim with the band to become a respected solo artist who gained a cult following.
Although Reed is not often listed among the other rock greats of the era, perhaps it is time rock fans of all ages take another look at Reed’s work. The incalculable impact he had on rock music as people of my generation know it deserves to be recognized in the wake of his passing.
Contact CU Independent Entertainment Editor Sarah Elsea at Sarah.firstname.lastname@example.org.