I knew guys in college who, I think it’s fair to say, worshipped at the altar of Lou Reed.
The truth is, I don’t own a Lou Reed album. Not Songs for Drella, not Transformer, not New York, not Metal Machine Music or Berlin. None of them. And while I own all the Velvet Underground albums, I don’t pretend to be all that intimately familiar with them.
Still, I know so many people I am personally devoted to—that I love and admire, whose music is burned into my soul—were among those mythical thousands who started bands after hearing The Velvet Underground & Nico.
And there are songs from the Velvet Underground that I love, that will be with me until I die. Some are the obvious ones, perhaps—”Sweet Jane”, “Rock and Roll”, “Beginning to See the Light”. but I owe him for providing the platform for Sterling Morrison’s wildly abandoned and intensely beautiful guitar break in What Goes On, a recorded moment that brings me to the verge of tears every time I hear it. And if only I could erase Nico’s singing, the cacophanous swirl of “All Tomorrow’s Parties” makes me want to drown in it.
So I owe him that.