Lou Reed is one of those guys who looms so large in my imagination that he seems fictional. It seems so amazingly unlikely that any one guy would form the noise-pop-folk-and-above-everything-rock-rock-rock Velvet Underground, befriend Andy Warhol, go glam and androgynous in the Bowie-fueled 70s, release Metal Machine Music, spar with Lester Bangs, pluck Bob Quine from the punk scene and set him at his rightful place only to dump on him out of jealousy, go confessional, accept the elder statesman of rock mantle, and marry Laurie Anderson. His coolness isn't just a shield but his divine right. He doesn't need protection from people like me. He was born into the natural aristocracy of music and legend. And yet for such an amazing guy he has sure churned out a ton of shit. The man has a bunch of albums that I would almost certainly never own. And here's the ones I would own. Are there more that I should have?
"(Do The) Ostrich." Credited to Lou Reed and The Primitives, this is the 1964 dance craze that never happened, mostly because few were willing to follow the steps, which include instructions to put your head on the floor and let someone step on it. Also on the single was one John Cale, who would play a large role in Reed's musical development.
one of Lester Bangs's articles about it. I prefer a different one, though, where Bangs describes himself cruising in his car with MMM cranked on the stereo. That's an image that never gets old. Even better than ol' Lester, though, is my pal William Ham's article on MMM. The Wall Street Journal recently quoted one of Bill's lines, marking the first appearance in those august pages of the phrase "sounds like Marshall stacks being pack-raped by angry kitchen appliances" since Reagan died.