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Songs in lieu of speeches at Lou Reed’s memorial

Songs in lieu of speeches at Lou Reed’s memorial

REMEMBERING LOU REED: The iconic rocker died in October at the age of 71. Photo: Associated Press

A memorial service for Lou Reed is set to take place in New York on Thursday.

The gathering will be held at The Paul Milstein Pool & Terrace at Lincoln Center and will feature tracks by the rocker in lieu of speeches.

Reed, the pioneering musician who fronted influential rock band The Velvet Underground and won mainstream acclaim with solo songs “Walk on the Wild Side” and “Perfect Day”, died last month at age 71.

While the band never achieved great commercial success, it revolutionized rock in the 1960s and ’70s with a mixture of thrashing guitar licks and smooth melodies sung by Reed or the German model Nico.

EXTRA: Lou Reed’s death sparks sales spike

The Velvet Underground has long been recognized as a major musical inspiration for punk art and rock, as reflected in a quote often attributed to musician Brian Eno: “The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band.”

Neil Portnow, president the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which bestows the Grammys, credited Reed with “introducing avant-garde rock to the mainstream.”

His uniquely stripped-down style of guitar playing and poetic lyrics have had a massive influence.”

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 as a member of The Velvet Underground, Reed grew into something of an elder statesman of rock, a towering figure in a club with fellow legends such as Bob Dylan and Neil Young.

Reed died at the Long Island home he shared with his wife, Laurie Anderson, following complications from a liver transplant earlier this year, his literary agent Andrew Wylie said. An admitted hard drinker and drug user for many years, Reed underwent a liver transplant earlier this year in Cleveland, his wife revealed, after he had canceled a series of California concert dates in April.

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