Lou Reed by Anthony DeCurtis

Lou Reed

The essential biography of one of music's most influential icons: Lou ReedAs lead singer and songwriter for the Velvet Underground and a renowned solo artist, Lou Reed invented alternative rock. His music, at once a source of transcendent beauty and coruscating noise, violated all definitions of genre while speaking to millions of fans and inspiring generations of musicians.But while his iconic status may be fixed, the man himself was anything bu...

Details Lou Reed

TitleLou Reed
Release DateOct 10th, 2017
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
GenreBiography, Music, Nonfiction, New York

Reviews Lou Reed

  • Laura
    From BBc Radio 4 - Book of the week:Born in Brooklyn in 1942, Lou Reed moved with his middle-class Jewish family to Long Island when he was a young boy. A rebellious teenager, he discovered R&B and rock and roll and began playing in bands early on. He also began experimenting with drugs and sex, leading his parents to take a drastic decision that Lou never forgave them for. At Syracuse University, he came under the influence of the poet Delmore S...
  • Tosh
    Overall Lou Reed had a sad life. One of the great American songwriters, he is also a guy that was angry. First of all, there's nothing better than The Velvet Underground. He may not have wanted to hear that, but having such perfection at a young age is a hard thing to jump over. On the other hand, there were brilliant solo Lou albums as well. His anger toward his father is puzzling, even though the family ok a series of shock treatments to solve ...
  • Phil Overeem
    I went into this hesitantly, after having read two other Reed bios and never having been knocked out by DeCurtis' work. But clearly it was a labor of love: while never flinching in looking at the subject with cold, clear eyes, the author makes a surprisingly fresh case for the humanity inherent in Reed's life and work. It takes DeCurtis a bit to get rolling; the early life / Velvets section is mostly what we already knew. But beginning with Reed'...
  • Joseph
    Workmanlike and comprehensive, but relies overmuch on deep readings of Reed's lyrics for long stretches.
  • Matthew
    4.5 stars.Like so many others, my introduction to Lou Reed came at an early, impressionable age. I was barely a teenager, obsessed with the classic rock stalwarts that dominated my father’s own music collection - The Doors, Hendrix, Dylan, to name a few. It was also around this time Oliver Stone directed a horribly bloated biopic about Jim Morrison and the Doors, yielding in nothing more than a wasted (literally) performance from Val Kilmer and...
  • TJ
    From his beginnings in the Velvet Underground to his final days as a New York City socialite with Laurie Anderson, Anthony Decurtis's unabashed account of the artist know as Lou Reed is the definitive statement of the underground music icon. In not only detailing Reed's life, personal and professional, DeCurtis examines Reed's music album by album. This is the best rock and roll biography I have ever read (and I've read a lot of them). Lou Reed: ...
  • Peyton Van amburgh
    had a lot of fun reading this and revisiting and discovering Lou Reed and the Velvets music I’ve always loved and some I never heard. The book perfectly connects his life with the type of music he made and why, which was almost always about painfully real things going through his head. The first half of the book paints a frighteningly disturbing portrait of a person in a ridiculous amount of despair and self-loathing and how his music reflected...
  • Amy Leigh
    A must read for Lou Reed & Velvet Underground fans. The author knew Lou Reed well on a personal level and gave him unprecedented access to windows of his soul and parts of his life you will probably only read on this book. Definitely not a boring biography but an adventure that happened in real life!
  • Wesley Britton
    Take a walk on the wild side.Yes, the line above was the title of Lou Reed’s 1972 hit single, certainly his most famous, most popular song. The sentence can also serve as a succinct summation of the life of the singer/songwriter/ guitarist who spent many years immersed in New York’s wild side, especially during the 1970s. The line can also serve as a summary of rock critic and Reed confidante Anthony DeCurtis’s 2017 biography of a figure De...
  • Tim Niland
    DeCurtis was one of the few journalists that the notoriously acerbic Lou Reed had any patience with, so it makes sense that he would turn his hand to biography, drawing on interviews with the man himself, and other friends and acquaintances along with a wide array of secondary sources. There is a brief opening of Reed's youth in an upscale Long Island home where all was not as it seemed, as his parents attempted to cure his emerging homosexuality...
  • Matt
    A solid biography, I just wish it had included more pictures throughout the book instead of a few pages in the middle. Reed's life story is most fascinating when you consider how you would feel if the biggest mistakes and craziest decisions of your life were not only seen by the public, but embraced and encouraged by them. How do you make changes when the public constantly wants you to stick to your "original" script? On the other hand: bad decis...
  • Chris Landry
    Pretty good, though it loses steam at the end. For example, DeCurtis' analyses of the early Velvets records are really detailed and insightful and filled with context that makes me appreciate those songs more. But for Reed's later works the observations are less sharp. What's more DeCurtis spends a lot of time extolling the virtues of goofy songs like "Original Wrapper" but makes only passing reference to a song as astonishing as "Waves of Fear" ...
  • James
    "I sing of arms and the man whom fate had sentTo exile from the shores of Troy to beThe first to come to Lavinium and the coastsOf Italy, and who, because of Juno'sSavage, implacable rage, was battered by stormsAt sea, and from the heavens above, and alsoBy tempests of war, until at last he mightBring his household gods to Latium, and build his town,From which would come the Alban Fathers andThe lofty walls of Rome." - Virgil, circa 19 BCE."Well,...
  • Katya Kazbek
    I adore Lou Reed, and his work, and I don't think there's anything more quintessential of an NYC experience to me, a current New Yorker, as listening to "White light/white heat", then "Transformer", then "Ecstasy", all in a row. So naturally I was very happy to be able to read about the man behind all this, and the way he grew, from the silly youth who giggles in "Heroin" to the cantankerous rock&roll supervillain, to Laurie's beautiful husband, ...
    I won this in a Goodreads giveaway, and just finished it...so many books, so little time.I knew the bare minimum about Lou Reed prior to reading this biography. He was basically the Rodney Dangerfield of rock and roll, "I get no respect." I now am compelled to listen to and study his catalog. It certainly sounds like he was at least 10 years ahead of the times musically and artistically for most of his career. His work is not for everyone, nor sh...
  • Jay Waghray
    Essential reading for any devotee. Who can’t identify with Lou Reed in some way?
  • Richard Kearney
    It seems strange to finish a 469-page biography with the sense that it is too superficial and incomplete, yet that's how I came away from Anthony DeCurtis' "Lou Reed: A Life." Reed's almost five decades as a songwriter and musician certainly had their ups and downs, but his decisive impact on almost every aspect of rock'n'roll is now impossible to deny, a far cry from the early years in which he toiled in obscurity, and it merits a major biograph...
  • Rob
    So the time has come to view the completed course of Lou Reed's rather motley but blindingly influential career and Anthony DeCurtis is actually a very good guide to take us on this trip. Rather than an acolyte, and in particular the kind of long distance acolyte who might have been overly blinded by the Velvet Underground's iconic status, to the detriment of any fair reading of Lou's subsequent highs and lows, DeCurtis was at Rolling Stone magaz...
  • Matt
    In finalized, linky version: http://artsfuse.org/167342/book-revie...In some ways, everything you need to know about Lou Reed is in the name- a sleek, slick, terse pair of punchy syllables that fits the image he projected to the public like a leather glove- a scowling, streetwise New Yorker who wore all black and wrote songs about illicit drugs, kinky sex, and the underworld that followed. What many people don’t know is that if it weren’t for...
  • Tory Gates
    An in-depth look at Reed's life, his music and his career shows a very intriguing struggle he had, which I'll get to later.From a very middle class Jewish upbringing on Long Island (a Coney Island Baby of sorts), Reed was taken by music as many kids would, in a sense of rebellion, and also that they could this kind of thing themselves.Reed's shifting to Syracuse U., his early mentors and inspirations melted into the Factory, where he came across ...
  • Barry Hammond
    Lou Reed was a songwriter who, more than any other, had a keen eye for detail and a cool, detached manner that let him describe events without moralizing or judgement which had more in common with writers of crime fiction or social commentary. Authors which spring to mind are his teacher Delmore Schwartz, William S. Burroughs, Celine, Hubert Selby Jr., Charles Willeford, Iceberg Slim, or John Rechy. Whether in his work with The Velvet Underground...
  • Bagus Anugerah Yoga
    When we are trying to talk about the Velvet Underground, it would be incomplete if we do not include Lou Reed in the topic. As the former leader of the Velvet Underground, he held a central role in orchestrating the group cultural influence through their iconic banana album aka The Velvet Underground and Nico which was being produced by Andy Warhol and also their impacts of the music in the decades to come. But the main topic of this book will no...
  • Kimberly
    I struggle with how to rate this. I'm a ginormous fan of Lou Reed, and very well aware of what an arsehole and curmudgeon he could be, so it's not like anything negative I learned about him via this biography would shock or appall. Instead, I very much enjoyed learning about Lou Reed's life in greater depth, and reading more about how others felt about him (good or bad!). I got a kick out of the photographs included. I even wept while reading the...
  • Nestor Rychtyckyj
    Lou Reed was one of the most iconic and complicated figures of our time and Anthony DeCurtis provides a definitive look at his life. DeCurtis knew Lou Reed well, but that does not prevent him from pointing out the many instances where "Lou being Lou" hurt many people and damaged his own career. Lou's childhood and the electric shock treatments that he endured later impacted his life and his antagonism toward his father.Lou Reed created some of th...
  • Sean
    I would put this on the short list for best rock biographies in the past 25 years. It's that good. As I kept reading this, I envisioned what Lou Reed would have thought. I pictured him calling DeCurtis at one in the morning, yelling about how the book made him out to be an absolute, unlikable asshole. I left the book with a much fuller understanding of Lou Reed. DeCurtis' reporting is expertly sourced, and it flows like some of the catchiest of V...
  • Dan Gorman
    A disappointment. DeCurtis gives a decent enough overview of Reed's life, with some engrossing chapters, but the chatty tone — basically a Rolling Stone article stretched to 500 pages — is sometimes grating, and the book is light on analysis. Instead of providing pages of repetitive oral history interviews, especially in the volume's first half, DeCurtis would have done well to read his interview transcripts, summarize them, and include some ...
  • Joss Stick
    An honest portrait of the individual behind a complex image. This book covers his progression as a person with age, his on-going fight to be himself rather than the image others had of him, and his role in his career and romantic frustrations, with a good level of insight provided by those who knew him. Understanding Lou's relation with his family is important in understanding his lyrics and his views toward the world, his lifelong confliction wi...
  • Rick
    When i was 17 years old I was a shy, nerdy kid. It was then that I heard Lou Reed's Transformer album for the first time. It changed my entire outlook on life. Coupled with reading National Lampoon my entire perceptions about the world were changed in 1973.With that as background how could I not love Anthony DeCurtis great biography of Lou Reed. The book does a great job on both Reed's life and his music. I probably saw Lou Reed in concert at lea...
  • Neil
    Well researched and honest, DeCurtis doesn't sugarcoat the story or attempt to deny that Reed was a prickly and combative person, an interviewer's worst nightmare. The book does a good job of digging into the reasons behind the fears and insecurities that shaped his life and career, without moving the focus too far away from Reed's true legacy; his catalog of astonishing music. My own impression of the man prior to reading the book was that he wi...
  • Jeffrey M
    Portrait of an artistI am fatigued from reading this wonderful biography by Anthony DeCurtiss.it was a quick read, but made longer by sampling music referenced in the pages.As someone who grew up with Lou Reed, the Velvets, and his influencers from early rock and r&b, I only knew this complex man from the media accounts and a chance meeting with him in the early 70s (oh how those purple nails are imprinted in my mind)After reading this biography ...