Rock history is littered with band leaders who made game-changing contributions within the context of their groups, but struggled to make an impact on their own. For all the mind-blowing tunes he dealt out with the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger’s solo output is pretty embarrassing, and though some of his post-Talking Heads music has been legitimately wonderful, David Byrne has never been able to replicate the Heads’ collective magic.
Not Lou Reed. His work with the Velvet Underground is rightfully heralded as legendary, but his solo career was just as powerful and inspiring. Throughout his solo run, Reed felt free to explore all sides of his personality, from the theatrical glam of Transformer to the sweet subversive pop of Coney Island Baby to the brutal drone of Berlin. Not all of his dalliances were successful—not even contrarian hipsters cop to liking the notoriously unlistenable Metal Machine Music, and his Metallica tag-team Lulu is problematic at best—but he took bold chances and hit more than he missed. READ FULL STORY