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
GenreMusic, Biography, Nonfiction, The United States Of America

Reviews Lou Reed

  • 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'...
  • 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...
  • Joseph
    Workmanlike and comprehensive, but relies overmuch on deep readings of Reed's lyrics for long stretches.
  • Ashley Adams
    Amazingly, Lou Reed's biography really hit its stride after the disbanding of the Velvet Underground. Sure, you'll read about the violent, drug-induced sexual scandals of the leather-clad asshole we all love, but I was really struck by Reed's evolving, passionate optimism for life. Whatta guy!
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Mr. Gottshalk
    This was one of those books that I did not hesitate to pick up when I saw it in my local library, displayed in the New Releases section. For all his complexities, Lou Reed has always been an intriguing character. While there was no reason for me to understand the backstory of every song on every album, I get it that a biographer has to do his due diligence, and Anthony DeCurtis sure did just that. I like that Reed was thorny, unpredictable, and f...
  • Hannah MacDonald
    I’m surprised by how well-received this biography was. I enjoyed the beginning of the book, but past that it turned into a very dry breakdown of all of his albums. I don’t think anyone willing to read an 800 page book about Lou Reed would need that boring of a background. Lou Reed is an extremely interesting figure, and this book didn’t do him any justice. The author seemed to insert his own opinions throughout the book which made it hard t...
  • 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...
  • Dan
    This is an outstanding look at the life of a rock icon. DeCurtis writes with love, admiration, warmth, and above all honesty about Lou Reed's life, which was both tortured (at one point, literally) and glorious. This is far from a rock hagiography. The book pulls no punches when it comes to Reed's difficult personality, troubled relationships, and propensity for egotistic self-deception. But this uncompromising (though sympathetic) look at Reed's...
  • 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...
  • Allan
    Love a music bio, and am a big fan of the music of both the Velvet Underground and some of Reed's solo work, as well as being highly interested in the NY scene that he had a massive hand in forming. Not sure if I was expecting more insight into the man, or whether the linear description of each solo album in turn throughout the narrative was too tiresome, but this book didn't gel with me the way other bios, even of artists that I don't appreciate...
  • 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" ...
  • Michael Legge
    Shame he dies in the end.
  • 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,...
  • Brad Carl
    I've read several books about Lou Reed. This is easily the definitive. My only complaint is that the last 2 chapters were depressing (for obvious reasons) and a bit boring. I know "boring" is a strong word. But once LR stopped making his regular solo albums and once his health began to deteriorate, I just wanted the book to end so I could get back to listening to his records. Seriously, though. You must read this book if you have an interest in l...
  • 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, ...
  • Michael Kress
    I'm a pretty big fan of Reed, and I've never read a biography that I didn't like, so I knew I'd be able to get through this one. It starts out talking about his childhood and college. Then it goes into the Velvet Underground years. I like everything that I've heard by the Velvets. I've listened to all of their studio albums, so it was interesting to read about the drama in the band and the true meanings of a lot of the songs. Then it went into hi...
    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...
  • Lee Anne
    I don't really think Anthony DeCurtis needed 534 pages to tell me Lou Reed was an asshole. What he could have done with that much space is breathe more life into Reed as a person. For me, all biographies of musicians are held to the "Guralnick Test:" Is it as good, thorough, yet still readable, as Peter Guralnick's two-volume Elvis Presley biography? For this book, the answer is no. I was very worried when there was a line in the introduction tha...
  • Justin
    Well-written/researched and insightful enough to make its prickly subject palatable. I've been dancing to that fine fine music since my teens and thereby knew pretty much what to expect from a portrait of the man himself, but God, who'd want to be such an asshole? To an extent, one can understand how the trauma of ECT and Reed's consequent resentment of his parents would have soured his outlook and stoked his already considerable anger, but that ...
  • 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...