Yesterday’s news of the passing of Lou Reed came as a sudden and unexpected shock to friends, peers, fellow artists and fans of the influential rock pioneer. Reed’s health in recent months had been a cause for concern since May, when it was reported that he had undergone a liver transplant. Reed ultimately succumbed to liver disease this Sunday morning—he was 71.
An overwhelming display of appreciation for Reed soon followed the initial Rolling Stone report of his death, with fans and fellow artists showering the experimental rock and proto-punk icon with adulation.
Some have argued that Reed was one of the most crucial innovators in rock music’s history. His debut album with the Velvet Underground, 1967’s The Velvet Underground & Nico, stands as a pivotal rock album for its abrasive style and taboo subject matter that addressed drug abuse, prostitution and challenged sexual mores. Reed was considered an enigmatic figure in rock music, and his solo work was the subject of much scrutiny by rock scholars of his era following the release of solo albums Lou Reed, Transformer and Berlin. As if to spite the public’s growing interest in his work, Reed’s 1975 album Metal Machine Music alienated fans and critics with its hour-long barrage of screeching feedback loops, sound effects and indecipherable noise, while his 1978 live album Live: Take No Prisoners consisted of a single, unedited performance featuring extended verbal attacks against music critic Robert Christgau.
An enormous number of fans shared their favorite songs and memories of Reed, with Iggy Pop, The Who, Nile Rodgers, John Cale, Flea, Julian Casablancas, Miley Cyrus and many more sending along their final thoughts. Below we’ve shared just some of the tweets paying tribute to Mr. Reed.