Patti Smith and David Byrne are the latest high profile artists to pay tribute to Lou Reed, who died on Sunday [October 26].
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Smith said:
“Lou was a very special poet – a New York writer in the way that Walt Whitman was a New York poet. One thing I got from Lou, that never went away, was the process of performing live over a beat, improvising poetry, how he moved over three chords for 14 minutes. That was a revelation to me.”
David Byrne, writing in Rolling Stone, remembered going to visit Reed during the early days of Talking Heads.
“Lou was talking a mile a minute and going through tubs of Haagen-Dazs ice cream while he suggested some variations and adjustments we might make to some of our songs. He began to play our song “Tentative Decisions” (a very Lou song title, no?) but he played it way slower than we were doing it. He was showing us how the song might be as a ballad — which made it more melancholic and elegaic than our bouncy version. It suddenly was of a piece with “Candy Says,” “Some Kind of Love” or “Pale Blue Eyes.” Of course we were in awe — here was one of our heroes playing one of our little songs. But by then it was the wee hours of the morning, dawn was coming, and we were all pretty spaced out — and we three probably had day jobs to get to at that point.”
Many other musicians have paid tribute to Reed, including David Bowie, John Cale and The Who.
Morrissey has also written a personal tribute to Reed.
You can hear Neil Young, Elvis Costello and Jim James cover a Lou Reed song here.
You can read a 2002 interview with Reed from the Uncut archives here.
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