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Notes from the Velvet Underground: The Life of Lou Reed (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

On the heels of Anthony DeCurtis’ essential LOU REED: A LIFE (2017) comes this significantly dishier biography, full of fleshed-out tales previously only heard in passing. Despite the title, this book too goes far beyond Reed’s years with The Velvets. Reed’s erudite crudity is on constant display throughout, and as always, both repellent and entertaining, by turns generous and stingy, prissy and guttural, he is always impossible to explain rationally. Much detail in this book!

— Matt


Lou Reed was best known to the general public as the grumpy New Yorker in black who sang "Walk on the Wild Side." To his dedicated admirers, however, he was one of the most innovative and intelligent songwriters of modern times, a natural outsider who lived a tumultuous and tortured life. In this in-depth, meticulously researched and very entertaining biography, Howard Sounes examines the life and work of this fascinating man, including his time as the leader of The Velvet Underground, one of the most important bands in rock'n'roll. Written with a deep knowledge and understanding of the music, the book also sheds new light on the artist's creative process, his mental health problems, his bisexuality, his three marriages, and his addictions to drugs and alcohol. In the course of his research, Sounes interviewed over 140 people from every part of Reed's life—some of whom have not spoken publicly about him before—including music industry figures, band members, fellow celebrities, family members, former wives and lovers.

About the Author

Howard Sounes is the author of Down the Highway and Fab.

Praise For…

"**** Compelling . . . Sounes takes pride in carefully debunking the myths that have crept in from Reed's own fictionalisations." —Sunday Telegraph

"Explosive." —Daily Mail

“[A] searing portrait of the rock ’n’ roll legend who wrote and sang about his life, his shape-shifting sexuality, and the drugs that colored his world—his walk on the wild side.” —Parade.com

"A walk on the dark side." —Independent

"An incisive and insightful look . . . . and first rate" —Goldmine

"This comprehensive, albeit snippy, page-turnner might end up being the definitive Reed biography" —Library Journal

Product Details
ISBN: 9781784160074
ISBN-10: 1784160075
Publisher: Transworld Publishers
Publication Date: April 1st, 2018
Pages: 400
Language: English