Entertainment & Arts

'He was certainly legend' Lou Reed: Your memories

US guitarist, singer and former Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed has died at the age of 71.

Known for tracks including Perfect Day and Walk on the Wild Side, Reed was considered one of the most influential singers and songwriters in rock.

Reed's literary agent the musician died at his home, on Sunday morning and had not been well "for a few months".

BBC News website readers have been sending in their memories of the man.

Peter Christmas, Surrey, UK

I have been following Lou's music for the past 40 years. I was first introduced to his music when I was 15-years-old. I have been a big fan ever since.

I am probably one of his biggest fans in the UK. I can safely say I bought every single of his and have attended every concert of his in the UK since 1973, except for one.

The only time I've had the pleasure to meet him was a few weeks ago, on 6 September to be precise, at the London Corinthia Hotel.

The picture (above) is of myself with Lou Reed and Mick Rock who was launching his Transformer photographic book. Lou was frail but made the journey from New York to support his old mate Mick.

Lou was immensely popular amongst his fans and I quickly realised this whenever I attended one of his concerts or launches.

He was under the radar when it came to the charts. But he was certainly legend and was one of the most influential musicians in rock music. He took me on a mental round trip to New York with his lyrics.

Thanks Lou for the 40 years. I was hoping for another 40. God bless and rest in peace.

Chris Charlesworth, Guildford, UK

In 1975, I was Melody Maker's US correspondent in New York and used to see him socially fairly regularly at a downtown club.

He'd done a show at the Academy of Music on 14th Street with banks of TVs, maybe 50 or 60, playing static as a backdrop, and a week or so after this show I happened to bump into him and mentioned to him that I didn't have a TV.

"How many do you want?" he asked.

"Well, a couple would be great," I said.

"Drop by my apartment tomorrow." He said.

He lived on Second or Third Avenue, in a big block, so I took a cab there and his place was chock full of TVs. I picked out a couple, they were all black and white, ex-hospital he told me, and I took them home. They both worked too, after a bit of fiddling with coat hangers as aerials.

I was too young to see him performing with the Velvet Underground but saw him perform with them when they reformed in the 1990s.

RIP Lou. Thanks for the TVs. And the music.

Dale Hopson, New York, US

Lou Reed once lived in the penthouse of our building in the West Village. This was about 10 years ago before he moved out.

Me and my partner kind of knew him. My partner is a horticulturalist and used to look after his plants. He was on the elevator with us once singing the praises of the Skinny Delight Yogurt he was eating. I told my other half as we got off the elevator: "This from a man who wrote a track called Heroin!?!"

I was first introduced to his music when I was 15 and bought my first CD, Walk on the Wild Side, when I moved to New York 35 years ago to attend college.

I attended one of his CD signings in the city and was struck by the fan base he had. It was quiet eclectic. A diverse range of ages that included the young and old.

It is sad to see him gone at 71 but he managed to have a long and fruitful career outliving many of his iconic rock music contemporaries who passed early on in their careers.

We knew him as a human being.

Dominic Boyson, Staffordshire, UK

An older friend of mine introduced me to the music of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground in the early 2000s, and told me all about the history of the band.

After a pint at the pub, we used to sit around his kitchen table and drink the finest single malt listening to the Banana Album or some Reed or John Cale (his bandmate) music.

My friend also had some really rare recordings of "The Super Clean Dream Machine" off a Dutch radio station he used to listen to.

My favourite song by Lou is Coney Island Baby and my favourite album is Berlin. Although I can only listen to it a few times a year because it's so sad.

There's one song that stands out particularly and that is The Kids. This song makes me grimace whenever I listen to it, and this is what I like about Lou Reed's music.

I eventually went to see Lou live at the Bridgwater Hall in 2006 and saw him perform Coney Island Baby live. Lou Reed's music has created some very valuable memories. Thanks Lou!

Interviews by Abdirahim Saeed

More of your comments:

I remember Lou's concert in Amsterdam in1976, opening with Sweet Jane, with Mick Ronson on guitar - just like on the Lou Reed Live album. It was iconic at the time - and still is. Thank you Lou and RIP. It was a perfect day, I'm glad I spent it with you. Hans, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

I went to see Lou Reed in concert at Oxford Polytechnic in 1973. We did not really know what to expect and we were very worried to see him appear on stage looking very pale and static but he then proceeded to perform and, boy, what a show. He played most of Transformer and his first album, Lou Reed, and we had a truly marvellous time. It was a brilliant concert and today I am sad he is gone but at least he gave it some welly when he was with us. Jan Thompson, Sibford Gower, UK

In 1964 or 1965, I was in a very bad garage band. We went to a concert in Union, New Jersey, to see the local, hot group The Left Banke. They didn't show up. Instead, a substitute group from New York played. It was the Velvet Underground in one of their original line-ups. We did not get it at all. It wasn't pop. It was loud, with distorted electric violin, and a female vocalist, who sang off-key in a monotone. She was Nico. It took a while before I developed an appreciation for them. Although we were witnessing rock n'roll history, we weren't impressed, or understanding, at the time. Rich Sitko, Essex Fells, New Jersey, USA

Lou Reed was the first, in song, to portray the lives of the long-shots and no-hopers that society likes to conveniently forget about or that, even in literature, were rarely explored. Reed compassionately revealed their dignity, integrity, values, tragedies, and boredom and rejection of the superficial straight life. Reed's songs celebrating women were also wonderful, and took a brave stance which was rare in a macho rock culture. I saw him circa 1981. He was a truly majestic, yet very human, presence. Joe Chonto, New York, NY, USA

Young and in love for the first time, that's what Lou Reed means most to me. The song was Perfect Day. His lyrics in songs such as Walk on the Wild Side and Waiting for My Man taught me to look at things beyond my own world and to explore how others lived. He stayed true to himself in his music, another lesson he helped me learn - live for yourself and not for what others expect of you. A great creator. He'll live on. Goodbye Lou. Vicki Holder, Treiste, Italy

I interviewed Lou Reed many times during the 1970s and he was the musician I admired most of all - intelligent, witty and a true friend who put up with some of my worst behaviour with unfailing grace. His music has been the soundtrack to most of my years and I love him dearly. What is left of my life will not be the same without him. Ray Fox-Cumming, Tarbert, Argyll, Scotland

RIP Lou Reed - wonderful genius and fearless innovator. Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground changed how I thought about and approached music and the making of my own music. A bright, bright light has left our planet today! Paul Archer, Peterborough, UK

I saw Lou Reed in concert in 1973 in Liverpool at the Empire Theatre, when I was 15. He was amazing. I was so sad to hear he had died. Jacquelyn Pringle, Amble, UK