Lou Reed, lead singer and founder of pioneering ’60s rock group the Velvet Underground, has died. Rolling Stone reports that the cause of his death has not yet been released, but Reed was hospitalized in July following a liver transplant in May. Reed was 71.
Described by writer Ellen Willis as an “aesthete punk”, Reed’s prolific work as a musician has been an inspiration to countless bands, musicians, and artists since the ’60s. He released four albums with the Velvet Underground that laid the framework for punk, alternative rock. While the band never scored any hit singles or albums, their influence far outreached their sales, with artists including U2, David Bowie, R.E.M. and Nirvana, among many, many others, citing the Velvets as a major influence. Reed went on to success in his solo career with songs like “Perfect Day,” “Walk On The Wild Side” and “Dirty Blvd.”