The Life of Lou Reed

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 10 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

A great addition to any music fan's collection of influential biographies. Highly recommended, lots of information I did not know.
Was this review helpful?
"...Lou’s sexuality remained enigmatic throughout his life, a conundrum to many friends and one suspects, himself…"

Lou Reed’s sexuality was pretty much the main focus of the biography. That and what an asshole he was. But he did become a rock and roll icon and he did write a few good songs. But to place him in the same tier as Bob Dylan is ludicrous at best. A fairly interesting book that in the long run disappoints because of its emphasis on Lou’s sexual proclivities.
Was this review helpful?
This biography was well researched and contained a lot of information that I hadn’t previously read in other books.  The author’s attention to detail is evident in the writing.  Highly recommend!
Was this review helpful?
An informative and well written biography of Lou Reed.
I discovered some things I didn't knew and it was a pleasant and entertaining read.
Recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Was this review helpful?
The Life of Lou Reed: Notes from the Velvet Underground from Howard Sounes is, like most biographies, both enlightening and maddening. That is the nature of the beast. As biographies go, especially of someone as volatile and private as Lou Reed, this volume succeeds far more than it fails. I wasn't aware when I started the book that it is a reprint. That doesn't really matter much, I just thought I'd let potential readers know.

I have read a couple of other biographies of Reed, one quite good but older and one, like this one written after his death, that was more like an extensive wiki entry. Of the three, this is by far the best and most comprehensive. That said, there are certainly gaps and holes from a lack of information. Since Laurie Anderson chose not to participate, there is a lot that might have shed light on the later Reed that we still don't know.

I was a fan of Reed's since the Underground days, but didn't really get into the music more seriously until Reed went solo. At that time I developed an interest in him and went back to the older work and rediscovered it. Many listeners came to the Underground through Reed's later music and, while technically not the case for me, probably most accurately relates my appreciation of the overall body of work. So, background explained, on to the book.

It is hard to read negative comments about people whose work you have come to admire. But many of his old acquaintances, friends, lovers, bandmates, etc highlight his bad traits alongside his creative abilities so it is what it is. I don't find Sounes as negative as some readers do, he simply relayed the remembrances as they were told to him. I also don't feel he gave any disrespect to Laurie Anderson either. What he could write about her was limited to what was largely already known since she didn't participate. And yes, I think she is immensely talented and I am a fan of both audio and video work she has done, so I am a fan of hers as well.

The research Sounes did for this book is extensive and will be foundational for much that may be written later as some of these figures pass away. 

I would recommend this work to fans of Lou Reed and of the Velvet Underground, just understand that this is not a vanity project, it is an attempt to tell as much of his story as possible, blemishes and all. This is more of a journalistic style biography rather than a critically interpretive or analytical one. I do hope someone writes one of those one day, but until then I think this will be the best that we have. And, for what it seeks to do, it succeeds very well.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
The Life of Lou Reed was very thoroughly researched and it was evident throughout that the author really immersed himself in his work. I've listened to Lou Reed's music in the past but didn't know much about him at all prior to reading this biography. I had always wondered about his connection with Andy Warhol and now I know!

Lou Reed was...a terrible person at heart. He was clearly a misogynist and an all-around not nice guy. It was interesting to read about his flippant remarks and sometimes violent reactions to those around him. 

Overall this was an informative biography. However, I did find myself skimming a bit towards the midway point. Also, I feel that a strong biography really gives the reader a true feel for the individual, but this one didn't do that for me. It's like the old adage, "Show me, don't tell me" needs to be applied here. At times I felt this was more of a chronicling of his career with quotes from friends/family in Lou's life saying he was a jerk. I wish this biography opened the door into Lou's life a bit more because for someone who was so colourful, this biography came across more as a textbook when it could've easily been a thrilling read given the subject matter.
Was this review helpful?
Notes From The Velvet Underground:TheLife Of Lou Reed
by Howard Sounes
due 9-10-2019
4.0/5.0

#netgalley.   #TheLifeOfLouReed

I spent a lot of time listening to Lou Reed, 'Transformer' is still one of my favorite albums.
Although many claimed he was a difficult person to work with, and some call him a controlling, misogynistic prick, almost everyone agrees he is a talented and prolific songwriter and lyricist.
I really enjoyed this walk on the wild side of Lou Reed, it follows his life and career, the chapters all are years of his life. His relationships with other band mates (from Velvet Underground and his solo career), girlfriends, boyfriends, family, wives are all clearly portrayed and easy to follow. This is a great bio, Sounes has clearly done much research and digging to put together an intimate biography of a complex man, driven by an inner emotional turmoil  he could never quite tame. Be sure to pick this up. 
Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for sending this requested e-book ARC for review.
Was this review helpful?
Linear and repertorial narrative approach; the book is a good introduction to Reed's life and spans his entire career. At times it reads like the author seems to think that he is the main authority on the life and times of Lou Reed, but for the most part it is informative and well written.
Was this review helpful?