Musician Lou Reed performs at All Tomorrow's Parties in Los Angeles, at the Queen Mary on November 6, 2004.
The punk-poet of rock n' roll who profoundly influenced generations of musicians as leader of the 1960s cult band Velvet Underground, and who remained a vital solo performer for decades after, died Sunday, October 27, 2013, in Southampton, N.Y., his literary agent told The Associated Press. He was 71.
Reed never approached the commercial success of such contemporaries as the Beatles and Bob Dylan, but no songwriter to emerge after Dylan so radically expanded the territory of rock lyrics.
And no band did more than the Velvet Underground to open rock music to the avant-garde -- to experimental theater, art, literature and film, to William Burroughs and Kurt Weill, to John Cage and Andy Warhol, Reed's early patron and longtime inspiration.
In addition to his Top 20 hit, "Walk on the Wild Side," Reed's songs included "Heroi," "Sweet Jane," "Pale Blue Eyes" and "All Tomorrow's Parties."
The Velvet Underground: Sterling Morrison, Maureen Tucker, Lou Reed and John Cale.
In 1964 Reed, Cale, Morrison (all of whom who had played together in a band called The Primitives) joined with Angus MacLise to form a new band which eventually adopted the name Velvet Underground (the title of a paperback novel). MacLise left the group the following year, to be replaced by Maureen Tucker.
Cale left the group for a solo career in 1968 (replaced by Doug Yule), followed two years later by Reed.
The band's association with Andy Warhol's Factory led to the 1967 album, "The Velvet Underground & Nico," recorded during Warhol's "Exploding Plastic Inevitable" multimedia tour in 1966.
In 1972, after breaking away from the Velvet Underground, Reed released the first of his solo albums, "Lou Reed," followed by "Transformer" (left). Produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson, "Transformer" included "Walk on the Wild Side" (a tremendous international hit) and "Satellite of Love."
Over the next four decades Reed would release 22 studio albums and 12 live albums.
Reed continued to exert a profound influence on other artists, from Bowie to R.E.M to Talking Heads. But he himself never reached the same level of popular success.
Left: An Oct. 31, 1974 photo of Lou Reed in concert in Milwaukee.
Reed blurred the line between rock & roll and performance art, and wrote some of rock's most explicit lyrics - about drugs ("Heroin," ''Waiting for My Man"), sadomasochism ("Venus in Furs") and prostitution ("There She Goes Again"). His love songs were less stories of boy-meets-girl, than ambiguous studies of the heart, like the philosophical games of "Some Kinda Love" or the weary ballad "Pale Blue Eyes," an elegy for an old girlfriend and a confession to a post-breakup fling.
American singer Lou Reed is pictured in Stockholm, April 4, 1983.
Reed's trademarks were a monotone of surprising emotional range and power; slashing, grinding guitar; and lyrics that were complex, yet conversational, designed to make you feel as if Reed were seated next to you. Known for his cold stare and gaunt features, he was a cynic and a seeker who seemed to embody downtown Manhattan culture of the 1960s and '70s and was as essential a New York artist as Martin Scorsese or Woody Allen.
U.S. singer Lou Reed gives a press conference at the Claridge Hotel in Stockholm, April 4, 1983.
His albums in the '70s were praised as daring experiments or mocked as embarrassing failures, whether the ambitious song suite "Berlin" or the wholly experimental "Metal Machine Music," an hour of electronic feedback. But in the 1980s, he kicked drugs and released a series of acclaimed albums, including "The Blue Mask," ''Legendary Hearts" and "New Sensations."
Left: Reunited after 25 years, the Velvet Underground's lead singer Lou Reed performed with guitarist John Cale, left, during their concert at London's Wembley Arena, June 6, 1993.
Reed continued to receive strong reviews in the 1990s and after for such albums as "Set the Twilight Reeling" and "Ecstasy," and he continued to test new ground, whether a 2002 concept album about Edgar Allan Poe, "The Raven," or a 2011 collaboration with Metallica, "Lulu."
Singer Lou Reed performs at the Casino, February 18, 1992, in Paris.
Left: French culture minister Jack Lang awards U.S. singer Lou Reed with the insignia of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters, February 18, 1992 in Paris.
An outlaw in his early years, Reed would eventually perform at the White House, have his writing published in The New Yorker, and win a Grammy in 1999 for best long-form music video. The Velvet Underground was inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame in 1996, and its debut album, "The Velvet Underground & Nico," was added to the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry in 2006.
American rocker Lou Reed poses on the stage of the Odeon Theatre on July 7, 1997, in Paris, just before reading his latest poems in the show, "The Music of City and Time."
Singer Lou Reed appears onstage during the 2003 Rock the Vote Awards, at the Roseland Ballroom, February 22, 2003 in New York City.
Musicians Lou Reed and Rod Stewart perform on stage during Clive Davis' pre-Grammy Gala at the Regency Hotel's Grand Ballroom February 22, 2003 in New York City.
Singer/songwriter Lou Reed plays the Helix Theatre May 5, 2003 in Dublin, Ireland
Singer Lou Reed poses at an autograph signing to promote his CD, "NYC Man," at Tower Records on June 23, 2003 in West Hollywood, Calif.
Recording artist Lou Reed and multimedia artist Laurie Anderson attend Interview Magazine and Adidas' celebration of the publication of Reed's photo book, "Emotion In Action," at Cooper Classics Collection November 3, 2003 in New York City. Reed and Anderson married in 2008.
Wyclef Jean and Lou Reed arrive at the American Civil Liberties Unions Freedom Concert after-party at the Mandarin Hotel on October 4, 2004 in New York.
Singer Lou Reed performs during the DKNY//Jeans Presents Vanity Fair In Concert to benefit the Step Up Women's Network at Irving Plaza October 21, 2004 in New York City.
From left: Ray Davies, Trey Anastasio and Lou Reed perform onstage during the 15th annual Tibet House benefit concert at Carnegie Hall, February 9, 2005 in New York City.
Singer Lou Reed performs onstage during "Soul to Soul': From the Heart of N.Y. to the Heart of New Orleans," in Central Park on September 28, 2005 in New York City.
From left: Activist Ali Hewson, and singers Lou Reed, Bono and Laurie Anderson pose at the Edun Fall 2006 Presentation during Olympus Fashion Week, February 5, 2006 in New York City.
Singer Lou Reed performs in concert after the Medal Ceremony at the Medals Plaza on Day 13 of the Turin 2006 Winter Olympic Games, February 23, 2006 in Turin, Italy.
Musicians Lou Reed and Pink appear onstage at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall, August 31, 2006 in New York City.
American rock singer Lou Reed performs music from his cult 1973 album, "Berlin," July 4, 2007, in Arles, southern France.
From left: Artist-filmmaker Julian Schnabel, dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov and singer Lou Reed pose for pictures inside Baryshnikov's "Merce My Way" photographic exhibit, held inside Mark Seliger's gallery 401 Projects, March 15, 2008 in New York City.
Lou Reed performs at the Electric Factory on April 19th, 2008 in Philadelphia, Pa.
Singer Lou Reed performs his album "Berlin" at the CCH Congress Center on July 6, 2008 in Hamburg, Germany.
Lou Reed performs onstage during the 2009 Lollapalooza music festival at Grant Park on August 9, 2009 in Chicago.
In this Sunday, Aug. 9, 2009 file photo, Lou Reed performs at the Lollapalooza music festival, in Chicago.
Lou Reed Ulrich Krieger perform during a concert with Metal Machine Trio, in Palma de Mallorca, April 30, 2010. Metal Machine Trio is composed of Krieger, Reed, and Sarth Calhoun.
In 2011 Lou Reed collaborated with the heavy metal band Metallica (James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich and Robert Trujillo) on the album, "Lulu."
Lou Reed presents his photography exhibition at the Matadero cultural center on November 16, 2012 in Madrid, Spain.
Lou Reed attends the John Varvatos Presents Transformer By Lou Reed And Mick Rock on October 3, 2013 in New York City.
Reed died at his home in in Southampton, N.Y., on October 27, 2013, from an ailment related to a liver transplant earlier this year.
Reed's literary agent, Andrew Wylie, told the Associated Press that the singer had been in frail health for months.
Left: American singer Lou Reed performs in Stockholm, August 12, 1977.
In 1998 Reed said, "There's a couple things I use as guidelines. One is never be affected by a trend. The other one is, try to write something you could read 20 or 30 years later and not be embarrassed by."
By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan. The Associated Press contributed to this report.