Even though his impact in front of the camera was rarely felt, the music and mood of Lou Reed has had a staggering influence on film soundtracks through the years. So it’s with heavy hearts that we report the rock pioneer has died at the age of 71.
Born in Brooklyn in 1942, he got into song writing early, kicking off his career after university working at novelty records label Pickwick. After befriending John Cale, he formed a band called the Primitives, which would mutate into the Warlocks and then the incredibly influential Velvet Underground, with whom he would have some of his earliest hits.
Reed split from the band in 1970 and struck out on his own as a solo singer, producing such memorable albums as Transformer, Berlin and Metal Machine Music.
Film-wise, he’s cropped up in movies such as 1980’s One Trick Pony (written by and starring) Paul Simon, 1983’s Get Crazy and Wayne Wang’s 1985 improv outtake film Blue In The Face. He also voiced animated characters in the likes of Arthur And The Great Adventure. His direct filmmaking experience was focused on short documentaries, including 2010’s Red Shirley, an interview with his cousin as she was about to turn 100.
Yet if we are to talk about Reed’s lasting legacy on the big screen, we must discuss the movies that used his music to such effect. Most people can point to a track either featuring Reed or someone covering his work, including Trainspotting’s use of Perfect Day, Satellite Of Love in Velvet Goldmine, Sweet Jane in Natural Born Killers and Magic Moment in David Lynch’s Lost Highway.
Reed had suffered with health issues for years, undergoing a liver transplant this year. He died from liver failure at home in Long Island on Sunday.