The biography of the legendary musician and songwriter Lou Reed.
Lou Reed wrote songs about drugs, squalor, transgressive sexuality, honourable prostitutes, visionary gutter queens and dollar-hustlers. He also wrote some of the most moving love songs of the era, from 'Pale Blue Eyes' to 'Perfect Day'. Always a generation ahead, he would never receive his due until later, when it was almost too late. The Velvet Underground, the group he led under the tutelage of Andy Warhol, were despised in their lifetime. Yet all his greatest solo albums - from Transformer to Berlin to his last, the Metallica-collaboration, Lulu - were considered meagre reflections of his best work with the Velvets.
The story of Lou Reed is full of such contradictions. From the ECT treatment that scarred him at 17, to the 'thoughtful, meditative' figure Bono now recalls. From his three marriages, to his polysexual relationship with various New York characters, most especially Rachel: a transsexual to whom he dedicated 'Coney Island Baby'.
'He was a master,' said David Bowie, in the wake of Reed's death, on 27 October, 2013. In his lifetime he was called, variously, the Godfather of Punk, the High Priest of Glam, and all sorts of similarly tremble-tremble sobriquets. The truth is, Lou Reed began where rock left off. Before him, it was about entertainment. After him, rock was literary, dark, and above all, disquietingly honest. His work belongs not in the same safe place as The Beatles and the Stones, but next to William S. Burroughs, Hubert Selby Jr, Andy Warhol, and Reed's personal mentor, Delmore Schwartz.
Now acclaimed biographer Mick Wall, a lifelong Lou Reed and Velvet Underground fan, brings you the story of the most misunderstood genius in rock.
Mick Wall has written in a rough and unsentimental style that suits his subject, and he doesn't gild Reed's more unpleasant aspects.
THE TIMES - Will Hodgkinson (Chief Rock Critic)
...this "sincere speed-written, blood-spattered tribute" strings together the raciest anecdotes...and does it rather well.
SUNDAY TIMES - Waldemar Januszczak