Pop focus: Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground

This week we look back at Lou Reed, who passed away earlier this week, and his pioneering work with the Velvet Underground, along with some of his solo music.

Brian Eno famously relayed a quote from Reed that only 30,000 people bought the first Velvets album, but everyone of them started a band. That's not true. If it were, there would've been a lot more interesting bands through the late 60s and early 70s.

But there's no denying that Reed's mixing of street poetry and garage rock with the avant garde touches of John Cale -- not to mention the icy vocals of Nico on the band's first LP and the primal drumming of Moe Tucker -- runs as a thread all through the rock'n'roll that followed: glam, punk and indie. Reed, and the group, are bound to be talked about for a long time to come.

Here's a clip of artist Andy Warhol, who famously "discovered" and promoted the group, and the Velvets.






And here's the full PBS "American Masters" profile "Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart."





 
 Reed penned one of rock's great guitar riffs with the Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane." Here he demonstrates it to Elvis Costello:





 Here's Reed jamming in 2007 with Pete Townshend.



And, as a special bonus, here's Lou Reed's Honda scooter ad. Why settle for walking on the wild side?