On October 27, 2013, ten years ago, Lou Reed died at the age of 71. Singer-songwriter, guitarist, poet. Founder of the legendary New York band The Velvet Underground and then protagonist of an equally extraordinary solo career. Close to Andy Warhol’s Factory, he was one of the leading figures of art-rock and wrote memorable songs: from Heroine to Walk on the wild side until Perfect day. To celebrate him, here are some of his most beautiful duets.
I’m Waiting for the man with David Bowie
There was a special bond between Lou Reed and David Bowie, in life, in the studio and on stage. In 1997 the White Duke turned 50 and organized a concert at Madison Square Garden in New York. Many famous artists participate, from Sonic Youth to Foo Fighters, from Dave Grohl to Robert Smith and Billy Corgan. Lou Reed is there too. Among the songs that the two sing together that day is I’m Waiting For The Mana song by The Velvet Underground: written by Reed, it tells of a student who goes to Harlem in search of drugs and waits for the dealer.
Lost art of conversation with Laurie Anderson
Laurie Anderson was Lou Reed’s partner from the early nineties until the man’s death. The lives of the two artists have often intertwined on a professional level as well, giving us collaborations and duets. Among the most touching is Lost art of conversationone of the songs that the couple sang together during an Anderson tour that began in 2007 and lasted a couple of years (from which the album was born Homeland). At the end of those concerts, Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed also sang together I’ll be your mirror, by The Velvet Underground. In the videos below we are in Paris in 2009.
SweetJane with Metallica
October 2009 marks the 25th anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lou Reed is part of it both as a solo artist and as a member of The Velvet Underground. During the celebratory concert, he goes on stage together with Metallica and duets with the group on two songs: SweetJane (in the video below) e White Light/White Heat. Two years later, the collaboration between Reed and Metallica continues with the album Lulu. The artist also guested with Metallica in the 2011 concert celebrating the band’s 30th anniversary.
Perfect day with Anohni
Perfect day is one of Lou Reed’s most famous – and covered – songs. Over the years, the artist has duetted with various colleagues on his notes. In 2002 he also sang it with Luciano Pavarotti during a Pavarotti & Friends. But the version we chose is the one paired with Anohni Hegarty, the transgender artist who is the voice of the group Antony and the Johnsons (now renamed Anohni and the Johnsons). It was Lou Reed himself, together with Laurie Anderson, who discovered and launched Antony Hegarty. In the video, a performance from 2003.
Hello it’s me with John Cale
It came out in 1990 Songs for Drella, a concept album by Lou Reed and John Cale – both former members of The Velvet Underground – dedicated to the memory of their friend and mentor Andy Warhol (Drella was one of his nicknames, a mix between Dracula and Cinderella). The song that closes the album is Hello it’s me: Reed sings, Cale plays viola. A moving and passionate greeting to Warhol. In the video, their performance at the 1989 Bam Next Wave Festival.