Published Oct 29, 2013The music world suffered a major blow this weekend when the iconic Lou Reed passed away of a liver-related ailment. Condolences and remembrances of the Velvet Underground founder have been pouring in since the news broke, and now a visual tribute has come in the form of the very last photo ever taken of Reed.
Reed's official website posted the picture above today (October 29). The shot was captured by Jean Baptiste Mondino. The photo session was intended to be used for Reed's friend Henri Seydoux's French audio headphones company Parrot, and this was the last photo taken.
Reed's manager Tom Sarig noted that the photo, which has a stoic Reed staring straight into the camera's eye and raising a clenched fist, demonstrates how the musician was "always a tower of strength."
While we had previously heard comments on Reed's passing from Velvet Underground bandmate John Cale, David Bowie, Iggy Pop and more, a number of tributes have now come in from the likes of Velvets drummer Mo Tucker, punk poet Patti Smith, Talking Heads' David Byrne, journalist/author Legs McNeil and more. You can read some of the more recent highlights down below.
"Lou was, I don't know — Lou and I had a special friendship. I loved him very much. He was always encouraging and helpful to me and a good friend. When you're involved in something with someone, whether it's winning the Super Bowl or whatever, I think those people who were with you at the time are special to you always. Yeah, actually I did know at the time that it was special, playing with them."
"Lou was a very special poet — a New York writer in the way that Walt Whitman was a New York poet. One thing I got from Lou, that never went away, was the process of performing live over a beat, improvising poetry, how he moved over three chords for 14 minutes. That was a revelation to me."
"I kept in touch with Lou over the years. We'd run into one another at concerts or at various NY cultural events and benefits. I remember how brave (and artistically successful) I thought Magic and Loss was... and how well his theatrical collaborations with Robert Wilsons' worked... and I knew what a convoluted process that could be, having done it myself twice.
"More recently I'd see Lou and Laurie socially — we'd join mutual friends for dinner sometimes — and at concerts. He and Laurie never stopped checking out emerging artists, bands and all sorts of performances. That was, for me, inspirational as well. Lots of creative types retreat after they achieve a certain level of success or renown — Lou seemed to maintain his curiosity and willingness to take risks.
"His work and that of the Velvets was a big reason I moved to NY and I don't think I'm alone there. We wanted to be in a city that nurtured and fed that kind of talent."
"Lou elevated rock'n'roll to literature. (Consider that he released 'Heroin' the same year the Beatles released 'All You Need Is Love.') That was why I love punk rock so much (which was originated by the Velvet Underground — they did everything first). The songs are so beautiful and so beautifully capture the hysteria and the confusion, and, occasionally, the bliss of being a fuck-up. Magic. Fucking magic — as if Lou was writing the real soundtrack to Last Exit to Brooklyn and In Cold Blood and Down These Mean Streets and The Executioner's Song — all at once."