Patti Smith Inducts Lou Reed Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Patti Smith inducted the late Lou Reed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during the induction ceremony in Cleveland tonight. Smith was inducted in 2007; Reed was entered the hall in 1996 as part of the Velvet Underground.
Smith noted that she was at Rockaway Beach in New York when she heard that Reed had died in 2013. "It was a solitary moment," she said. "I was by myself and I thought of him by the ocean, and I got on the subway back to New York City. It was a 55-minute ride, and in that 55 minutes, when i returned to New York City, it was as if the whole city had transformed. People were crying on the streets. I could hear Lou’s voice coming from every cafe. Everyone was walking around dumbfounded."
Smith recalled that she first made eye contact with Reed while dancing to the Velvet Underground in the summer of 1970. "They were great to dance to, because they had this transformative ... like a dissonant surf beat," she said.
"True poets must often stand alone," she concluded. "As a poet, he must be counted as a solitary artist. So Lou, thank you for brutally and benevolently injecting your poetry into music."
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Reed's widow, Laurie Anderson, accepted Reed's induction into the hall, saying that his songs "are full of life and complexity, and they have names." "In the last year and a half, I've heard from literally hundreds of people, and they’ve said how much Lou has changed their lives ... He was kind, he was hilarious ... he was never ever cynical."
Anderson also said that Reed, whom she called "a radical innovator and an artist," was her "best friend, and he was also the person I admired the most in the whole world ... I was never ever bored."
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