The legendary Lou Reed, the unaffected king of solid, straightforward, basic-style rock ‘n’ roll poetry — that deep, bullshit-free voice plus bare-boned New York street lyrics with a good old twangy guitar, bass and drums — and one of the most important rock music influencers of all time….Lou Reed is dead? He was only 71, for Chrissake…oh, I see…”complications due to a liver transplant”…uh-huh…a rock ‘n’ roll pay-the-piper death. But what matters at the end of the road is quality, not quantity…right? Reed’s contributions to the Velvet Underground banana album plus Transformer alone were enough to cement his reputation as a seminal ’60s and ’70s legend. Being something of a middle-of-the-roader (musically, I mean) I was no fan of Metal Machine Music or The Bells or even Berlin for that matter, but Reed was “the guy” to me…the Real McCoy of flinty, tough-as-nails, occasionally flamboyant but at the same time plain-as-can-be rock ‘n’ roll authority. I turned to his cuts over and over and over. “I Love You Suzanne” is one of the great lightweight rock anthems of all time. The kids and I used to sing along to New York (particularly “Dirty Boulevard”) and Magic and Loss in the ’90s. But quantity counted also as Reed stuck to it for a much longer and arguably more impassioned period than Elvis Presley (whose peak influence period lasted from ’55 to ’58) or the Beatles (’63 to ’70) — he kept writing and composing and strumming away for 45 years, and mattered a great deal for at least 30 if not 35 of those. He went away from time to time but never retired, never recycled…well, he “recycled” but he never stopped looking for the next thing. I love that he didn’t smile very much. I can imitate Reed singing “Venus in Furs” really well.