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My Take on Lou Reed

New York legend, who helped shape nearly 50 years of rock music, underwent a liver transplant in May

Lou Reed, a massively influential songwriter and guitarist who helped shape nearly 50 years of rock music, died today. The cause of his death has not yet been released, but Reed underwent a liver transplant in May. Read more at RollingStone.com →

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For me, it was “Rock n’ Roll Animal.” I know, I know… the depth and breadth of Lou Reed’s career and influence deserve something more innovative, more avant-garde, more obscure. Right? Sue me. I loved that record.

This was the early ’70s period when it was fairly obvious that Reed was making a deliberate attempt to go more mainstream — if boot-camp short bleached blond hair can be considered mainstream. Did I mention this was the early ’70s? He brought in not one, but two hot-shot hired gun guitarists: Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner. And those guys could ROCK. The intro to “Sweet Jane” alone still stands as one of the most reliable portals to that time period.

The smallest part of any Lou Reed bio tends to be his handful of appearances in various films. Acting wasn’t his deal, really; most of the movies he’s in list his character “As Himself.” But as the Late Night Movie guy, I have to mention one – the first movie he was in, “One Trick Pony,” in a role usually described as “sleazy record producer.”

“One Trick Pony” is the saga of an aging singer-songwriter struggling to save his career and his marriage. Written by and starring Paul Simon, and released in 1980, it was supposed to make Paul Simon a movie star, but it fell a bit short of the mark. Still, it was an interesting look at the music biz, circa late ‘70s — interesting because it was so accurate. And Lou Reed’s somewhat wooden performance as the “sleazy record producer” actually served his character well; the lack of affect, lack of human emotion, was spot-on. “One Trick Pony” languished in VHS and Laserdisc limbo for decades but was finally released on DVD in 2009. Here’s a look…

Sean Marten

Sean Marten is the PRP Production Manager, On Air Talent, and Late Night Movie Reviewer.
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