Lou Reed (full name Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed) was born 2nd March 1942 and is from Brooklyn, New York.
He is best known for being part of The Velvet Underground and is a musician, songwriter, producer and photographer. Post Velvet Underground, Lou Reed has had most success as a solo artist, although Velvet Underground did become a cult band in the later years.
In the early years, Andy Warhol worked with The Velvet Underground giving artistic direction and suggested a female singer in the form of Nico. Nico appeared on the album The Velvet Underground & Nico, but the album failed to make any real impact on the charts.
White Light/White Heat followed, but by this time Andy Warhol and Nico were no longer with the band and it wasn’t long until The Velvet Underground disbanded.
After The Velvet Underground, Lou Reed briefly took up an accountancy job and returned to the music industry a year later, signing a new recording contract with RCA Records. He worked with top session musicians and released his debut album Lou Reed.
Christmas 1972, he next released Transformer which would be the turning point in his career. Produced by the now infamous David Bowie and Mick Ronson, the album contained the massive hit “Walk on the Wild side” and he spent much of the early ’70s on tour.
Lou Reed’s next effort Berlin focused on drug use and was a lot darker than his earlier efforts. Sally Can’t Dance and Rock 'n' Roll Animal came next, which contained the songs “Sweet Jane” and “Heroin” (from The Velvet Underground).
Lou Reed tasted the highs and lows of success. His next album Metal Machine Music didn’t resonate with the public with his “feedback” album, in stark contrast with Coney Island Baby (1975) which was a lot softer.
In the ‘80s Lou Reed married and continued writing music. Growing Up in Public and The Blue Mask did well, and he became more involved with many philanthropic activities including, performing at Farm Aid, and joining Amnesty International's A Conspiracy of Hope Tour where he spoke out about various issues in New York.
After having minor surgery in the late ‘80s, Lou Reed wrote the album Songs for Druella (about Andy Warhol) with Velvet Underground’s John Cale. The two reunited after more than 20 years of being apart.
By 1990 the Velvet Underground reformed for the Foundation Cartier charity event (an art museum in France), and Lou Reed released the album Magic and Loss which was about the loss of two close friends. The band toured around Europe and began to make a comeback.
Lou Reed appeared in the special 50th birthday concert of Roger Daltrey (from The Who) in 1994 and two years later the Velvet Underground were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lou Reed also contributed the songs and music for Time Rocker, and adaption of HG Well’s The Time Machine.
In May 2000, Lou Reed performed at the Great Jubilee Concert in Rome in front of Pope John Paul II and continued to have success with his new album The Raven. He also appeared in films and appeared on music talent shows, where he helped develop the careers of younger musicians.
It was in 2004 that Lou Reed found major chart success again with the song “Satellite of Love” which reached #10 in the UK Singles Chart. Three years later, and Lou Reed took a new direction with the album Hudson River Wind Meditations, and also worked with The Killers on the song “Tranquilise”.
In 2010 he worked with Damon Albarn’s Gorrilaz on the album Plastic Beach. In 2011 he toured with Metal Machine Trio and entered a new era, working with heavy metal heavyweights Metallica and contributing to synth-pop band Metric.