There aren’t many children who, aged eight, would cite The Velvet Underground’s ‘Heroin’ as their favourite song. But growing up with music-mad parents The Velvet Underground’s tunes were part of a fantastic soundtrack to my childhood.
And so Lou Reed’s passing last week meant a great deal to me. As I became a teenager I re-listened to The Velvet Underground with new ears, and became obsessed with The Factory, Andy Warhol and discovered the music of David Bowie, Nico and Iggy Pop.
I read biographies, devoured images, but most importantly kept on returning to the music. Lou Reed, grumpy and inspiring was someone I decided [as a journalist] I’d never want to meet or interview but who I was entranced by. Lou’s best PR was his music.
When I lived in London his ‘Transformer’ album was my soundtrack and when my friends and I were in the Good Mixer pub we always put on ’Satellite of Love’ to sing along to. Now, whenever I hear it, I’m transported back to being 21 and the excitement and uncertainty of that period in my life.
It strikes me as odd that we mourn famous people when thousands across the world die in atrocities every day. But, as I wept at ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ playing on a radio tribute show, it struck me that I was mourning for a part of myself – as well as an incredible artist that’s brought immeasurable enhancement into my life.
Good-bye Lou Reed and long may your music, and legacy, continue to inspire many.