Perhaps best known as a rock singer-songwriter and a founding member of the legendary Velvet Underground, Lou Reed ’64 was also an American Master, a playwright, a poet, and a photographer whose photos have been exhibited worldwide.
After earning a degree in English from the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University, Reed launched an illustrious career that earned him distinction in each of his artistic specialties.
With the Velvet Underground, Lou Reed created music that ranked him among the Beatles and Bob Dylan in terms of both importance and influence. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which inducted the group in 1996, "The influence of the Velvet Underground on rock greatly exceeds their sales figures and chart numbers. They are one of the most important rock and roll bands of all time, laying the groundwork in the Sixties for many tangents rock music would take in ensuing decades."
in 1970, Reed left the Velvet Underground and began a solo career that lasted for more than four decades and included projects both daring and experimental. In 2006, he premiered the live staging of his masterwork, Berlin, at St. Ann’s Warehouse in New York and, in 2007, released his first suite of electronic meditation music, Hudson River Wind Meditations, on the Sounds True label. The following year, he released a new album of live electronic music called Lou Reed's Metal Machine Trio: The Creation of The Universe. The album inspired two extremely well received performances by the MM3 Trio in New York in April of 2009.
In 2009 Reed also released his third photography book, titled Romanticism. Other work included collaboration with artist Lorenzo Mattioti, who created a graphic novel based on Reed’s album, The Raven. Reed also acted in and composed music for films, and co-hosted a weekly show on Sirius XM Satellite Radio called The New York Shuffle with friend and distinguished producer Hal Willner.
Reed was the recipient of the Chevalier Commander of Arts and Letters from the French government and numerous other awards. In 2007, Syracuse University honored him with the prestigious George Arents Award, SU’s highest alumni honor, for excellence in writing and the arts.
In October 2013, Reed died at his home in Southampton, New York, at the age of 71. In October 2014, he was named as one of the nominees for the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this time, as an individual artist.