The death on Sunday of punk godfather Lou Reed at 71 hit the music community hard. The Velvet Underground and solo legend underwent a liver transplant in May and died of undisclosed causes after a career that spanned more than five decades and produced some of the most iconic and influential music in rock history.
The shadow cast by Reed on several generations of noisy bands is well-documented , but the “Walk on the Wild Side” singer’s reach extended well beyond the world of smoky rock clubs and distorted guitars.
That powerful sway was felt in the range of new generation musicians, actors and directors who weighed in to express their grief on Sunday.
Though their ideas of a walk on the wild side are likely much different from Reed’s, both Miley Cyrus and Ke$ha spread some love Sunday night. Miley tweeted, “noooooooooo notttttttttt LOU REED,” while Ke$ha posted, “So sad with the los of Lou Reed — such an incredible visionary and songwriter. So inspirational. Transformer on repeat.”
noooooooooo notttttttttt LOU REED 💔
— Miley Ray Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) October 27, 2013
so sad with the loss of Lou Reed -such an incredible visionary and songwriter. so inspirational. transformer on repeat.
— ke$ha (@keshasuxx) October 28, 2013
Miguel specializes in bedroom R&B, but he couldn’t help reacting as well, tweeting, “Wow, just getting to my phone … RIP Lou Reed,” while fellow soul man Justin Timberlake had few words, posting, “#RIPLouReed.”
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) October 27, 2013
Reed also got some love from the movie world, including “Clerks” director Kevin Smith, who wrote, “Mr. LOU REED had himself a dream: Velvet the underground & change the music scene. Now he’s up & gone away. #RIP Lou Reed, an un-Perfect day.” Olivia Wilde, who was celebrating the announcement of her first child with Jason Sudeikis, said simply, “Damn. Lou Reed. Damn.”
Damn. Lou Reed. Damn.
— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) October 27, 2013
“Girls” creator Lena Dunham also reached out, sending good vibes to both Reed and his wife, performance artist Laurie Anderson. “We love you Lou. We love you Laurie,” she said.
We love you Lou. We love you Laurie.
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) October 27, 2013
During his life, Reed’s music was covered by many, from Nirvana (“Here She Comes Now”) to U2 (“Satellite of Love”), as well as Mark Wahlberg during his days as the leader of the Funky Bunch, whose “Wildside” rode on a sample of one of Reed’s biggest solo hits, “Walk on the Wild Side.” His songs also had a huge impact on cinema, from the iconic use of “Perfect Day” in Danny Boyle’s “Trainspotting,” to the killer deployment of the Velvet Underground b-side “Stephanie Says” in director Wes Anderson’s “The Royal Tenenbaums.”
Though his band’s spiritually seeking jam tunes seem a world away from the darker edges of Reed’s oeuvre, My Morning Jacket leader Jim James had nothing but love, writing, “RIP Lou Reed. You made the world a better place. We are forever grateful.” Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea was at a loss for words, but summoned up a few, saying, “I love Lou Reed so much. Always.”
In addition to serving as a beacon for so many bands, Reed also played a role in passing the torch at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards, where he took the stage with Jack White to perform a revved-up version of the VU’s “White Light/White Heat” with the Raconteurs.
One of Reed’s contemporaries and fellow envelope-pusher David Bowie said of his old friend, “He was a master,” while his obvious new millennium rock godsons the Strokes couldn’t hide their grief. “Lou Reed is the reason I do everything I do,” wrote singer Julian Casablancas.
Lou Reed is the reason i do everything i do
— Julian Casablancas (@Casablancas_J) October 27, 2013
Weezer were feeling the loss as well, posting, “R.I.P. Lou Reed — VU was a big influence when Weezer was being formed, and [Cars singer] Ric Ocasek told us cool stories of his friendship with him.”