During Day of the Dead, I made sure to light a candle for the late punk-poet of rock, Lou Reed. While Reed never reached the commercial success of, say, the Beatles or Bob Dylan, no songwriter did more to open rock music to the avant-garde.
Lou Reed was a testament to carving one’s own path. His unique sound and sometimes-gritty lyrics provided inspiration for the indie rock, punk, and alternative rock movements. Reed’s songs were covered by R.E.M., Nirvana, Patti Smith, among countless others.
I read that the Velvet Underground’s first album sold only 30,000 copies, but everyone who bought it started a band. It may not have been a commercial hit, but as far as the history of music goes, the album was a massive success. It makes me wonder what “success” really means? I want to take greater inspiration from the Lou Reed model and less from the Paris Hilton model. True talent, inspiration, and innovation may not always look like a big paycheck, but it sure can have a massive impact.
I hope you are taking a walk on the peaceful side these days, Lou Reed. Your wild side will undoubtedly continue to inspire countless generations.
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