Lou Reed Biography


Claim to Fame: Singer/Guitarist (The Velvet Underground)
DOB: March 2, 1942
Diabetes Type: Unknown

A pioneer in experimental rock, Lou Reed has made a lifelong career out of reinventing his musical persona, style, and sound. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Long Island, he adapted naturally in his teenage years to the transforming rock scene in New York City.

Reed studied journalism and poetry at Syracuse University. His talent with words won him several publications in Fusion magazine, numerous awards, and growing attention from the artistic community. After finishing at Syracuse, Reed shifted gears to songwriting and returned to New York City to work at Pickwick Records. During these years, Reed became acquainted with many up-and-coming musicians in New York and joined several local bands. Together with John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Joe Tucker, Reed eventually formed the Velvet Underground in 1966.

Although the Velvet Underground was a short-lived project, Reed and his collaborators released four highly innovative and influential albums that had a lasting impression on the rock genre in the 1960s. After leaving the Velvet Underground in 1970, Reed severed contact with the music industry until he resurfaced in England two years later, focused on developing his career as a solo artist. In England, Reed met David Bowie, who produced his first solo album, Transformer, in 1972. The album would prove to be Reed's only commercial success, and featured his popular hit "Walk on the Wild Side." With Bowie's influence, Reed transitioned to the glam rock scene and shocked audiences with his unpredictable, avant-garde style. A poet at heart, Reed's personal and controversial lyrics often featured frank social commentary on taboo topics like sex and drug culture.

From his break as a solo artist to his latest release in 2011 with heavy metal band Metallica, Reed has produced albums that represent constant metamorphoses in a lifelong career of making music. As a person with diabetes, Reed seems to apply the same level of focus to his mind and body as he does to his songwriting. He has practiced Tai Chi for over 25 years and also advocates for the benefits of an organic diet. Now 70 years old, Reed remains a living example of how caring for one's mind and body can maintain a lifetime of vitality.

Find more musicians with diabetes.

Last Modified Date: May 22, 2013

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.
  1. Belief Net. http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Celebrities/Meditating-On-The-Wild-Side.aspx?p=2 (Accessed 5/22/13)
  2. PBS. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/lou-reed/about-lou-reed/687/ (Accessed 5/22/13)
  3. Rolling Stone. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/artists/lou-reed/biography (Accessed 5/22/13)

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by Brenda Bell
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