From the Velvets to Drella: Lou Reed’s greatest hits

Velvet Underground Formed in 1964 and largely commercially ignored, they have been long regarded as one of the most important and influential groups of the 1960s.

The Velvet Underground & Nico: The 1967 debut album is said to have sold a pitiful 25,000-plus copies on first release, yet, said Brian Eno, "everyone who bought a copy started a band". Possibly an exaggeration, but there's no doubting this album's enduring influence.

Transformer: Released in 1972, co-produced by David Bowie and his staunch sideman Mick Ronson, this album featured Reed's most successful pop songs, Walk on the Wild Side, Perfect Day and Satellite of Love.

New York: His 1989 album of rock/pop songs about life in the city was Reed’s most conceptual and literate for 20 years. Reed implored listeners to play it in one sitting, as if it were “a book or a movie”.


Songs for Drella: A beautiful, soft, sad record, focusing on Andy Warhol (who died in 1987). Reed collaborated with former Velvet Underground member John Cale (with whom he spoke for the first time in years at Warhol's memorial service).

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture