Notes from the Velvet Underground: The Life of Lou Reed

Notes from the Velvet Underground: The Life of Lou Reed

by Howard Sounes


View All Available Formats & Editions


Fifty years after the concerts captured on the legendary album 1969: The Velvet Underground Live comes this illuminating biography of Lou Reed.

As band leader of the Velvet Underground and later a successful solo artist, Reed was much more than what the general public came to know as the grumpy New Yorker in black who sang “Walk on the Wild Side.” To his dedicated admirers, he was one of the most innovative and intelligent songwriters of modern times—a natural outsider who lived a tumultuous and tortured life.

In the course of his deep research into Reed’s life, from a humble upbringing on Long Island to death from liver disease in 2013, Howard Sounes interviewed more than 140 people who knew the artist intimately—some of whom have not spoken publicly about him before. With new revelations from former wives and lovers, family members, fellow band members and celebrities, and music industry figures, this book offers an updated, unfettered look at Reed’s creative process, his mental health problems, his bisexuality, his three marriages, and his addictions to drugs and alcohol.

Featuring previously unpublished photographs of some of Reed’s most private moments, this is the definitive account of one of rock ’n’ roll’s most complicated and brilliant prophets.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781784160074
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Limited
Publication date: 04/01/2018
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Howard Sounes is known for writing detailed and revelatory biographies of a wide range of extraordinary personalities, including the murderers Fred and Rosemary West ( Fred & Rose ), Charles Bukowski ( Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life ), and musicians Bob Dylan ( Down the Highway ) and Paul McCartney ( Fab ). Each book is based on extensive original research. For more information visit

Table of Contents

I Coney Island Baby, 1942-59 1

II On to the Darkened Sea, 1960-4 20

III Honeybun, Black Jack, Sterl and Moesy, 1964-5 44

IV The Exploding Plastic Inevitable, 1966 67

V Light and Dark, 1967-8 95

VI A New VU, 1968-70 116

VII Solo in the Seventies, 1970-3 135

VIII Self-parody, 1973-4 162

IX Howling like the Devil, 1975-6 187

X The Arista Years, 1976-80 210

XI Second Marriage, 1980-7 237

XII New Inspiration, 1987-92 260

XIII Return to the Velvet Underground, 1992-6 284

XIV Love, Lou, 1996-2008 305

XV Nevermore, 2008-13 326

Author's Note and Acknowledgements 347

Source Notes 355

Bibliography 383

Picture Acknowledgements 387

Index 389

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews