The 2014 Grammy Awards are set to go down this Sunday night, January 26, and there’s one moment on the show that people just can’t stop gossiping about. No, it’s not the reported Jay Z/Beyoné opening number, and no, it’s most certainly not which artist is going to walk away with Song, Record or Album of the Year. Rather, it’s which recently deceased star will anchor the famed In Memoriam death montage?
In the classic song “Rock And Roll” Lou Reed, who died this week at the age of 71, sang of a girl named Jenny who’s “Life was saved by rock and roll.” Many would say Lou Reed’s music did the same for them. The Godfather of punk wrote about drug addicts, drag queens, and other denizens of New York’s underworld and basically created the idea and many of the sonic hallmarks of alternative rock with his band The Velvet Underground. Though a distinct vocalist and innovative guitar player, it is his songwriter that he will be most remembered for. The list of classics he penned is staggering; “Heroin,” “Pale Blue Eyes,” “Sweet Jane” and “Walk On The Wild Side” to name but a few. One of the qualities of a great song is that it can be reinterpreted by different artists and still remain true to its musical essence and many of Reed’s numbers have found their ways into the repertoires of some of rock’s biggest bands. Check out some of music’s most awesome, unusual and unknown Lou Reed covers and see why fans are still mourning his death.
Our rock and roll hearts are broken over the tragic passing of Lou Reed on Sunday. However, the loss sent us digging through our VH1 archives, and we’ve discovered a treasure: Lou’s hand picked (and handwritten) choices for the eight greatest songs in rock history!
Yesterday we mourned the loss of a true original, the prototypical New York rockstar, the godfather of punk: Mr. Lou Reed. The man may be gone, but his music lives on, both in his records -and other people’s, too!
Lou Reed, one of the most influential and respected musicians in rock history, is dead. His impact on rock music, both as a member of The Velvet Underground and as a solo artist, truly cannot be overstated. Details of his death are still coming in though he underwent a liver transplant in the spring. He was 71.
Are You Afraid Of Lana Del Rey?
The Awl tries to dissect the Lana Del Rey beast, “the Manichean death match between veracity and popular consumption, the Del Rey Affair [that] has brought head-scratching and hand-wringing to new highs,” makes some interesting observations, but generally just gives you more to think about. [The Awl]
Rihanna Announces That She Will Collaborate With Jay-Z On Her New Album
We smell a hit. A big one. Rihanna has annouced that she will once again collaborate with Jay-Z on her forthcoming album, Talk That Talk. We’re already dancing. [Just Jared]
SNL Meme Sketch “Band Reunion At The Wedding” Releases Official Single For Crisis Of Conformity Song “Fist Fight”
After the SNL sketch “Band Reunion At The Wedding” tickled the funny bone of audiences in early 2010, Crisis Of Conformity released a 7-inch single of “Fist Fight”. PAPERMAG chats with the band’s creator, Fred Armisen for a chat. [PAPERMAG]
The controversial experimental collaboration album by Metallica and Lou Reed, Lulu, was officially released yesterday, and seemingly everyone on the Internet has an opinion on it. In the lead up to the much talked about release, critics waxed lyrical about Lulu with many a no-holds-barred, acerbic commentary surfacing in its wake. Every music critic armed with a blog and dexterous typing hand has weighed in on the collaboration, what it tells us about the music industry, and what ‘quality’ means in a world where the fruits of creative process are both disposable and necessary. Overwhelmingly, opinions have been unfavorable.
VH1 spoke to James Hetfield, Metallica front man about the release, and the artist was optimistic, reiterating how much he, Lou and the band enjoyed creating the album, and specifically how much they love the finished product. He goes on to acknowledge the criticism, saying, “at the end of the day all of this is about us writing music that we enjoy listening to, and if other people enjoy it, that’s awesome, and if they don’t — there’s certainly people out there that don’t as well — then move onto the next thing.”
The 2011 VMAs are airing live from Los Angeles on Sunday night, and the latest addition to the evening’s already-stellar lineup is Tony Bennett. The 85 year-old (!) will captain what’s sure to be an emotional tribute to recently-deceased singer Amy Winehouse. Introducing a slew of performers who are currently being kept confidential by the folks in MTV’s ivory tower, we’re excited to see that Bennett, who had recently collaborated with Winehouse on a duet due this fall, “Body and Soul,” will make an appearance on the notoriously youthful VMA stage. While the majority of the MTV audience’s demographic was not yet even a twinkle in their parents’ eyes when Bennett took home his first Grammy in 1963, this certainly isn’t the first time an elder statesman has been booked on MTV’s annual celebration of the year’s best music videos. Want to see what we mean? Check out our list of the Top 5 Oldest People To Appear On-Camera at The VMAS!
5) George Clinton, 52 Years-Old (1993): George Clinton presented the Best R&B Video award alongside West Coasters Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre in ’93. Then 52 years-old, the funk innovator and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee must have been pretty psyched to hand Moonmen over to the lovely ladies of En Vogue. And the Funky Divas were most likely equally as pleased!
4) Lou Reed, 54 Years-Old (1996): Making a cameo with house band(leader) Jack White of Raconteurs, Lou Reed of The Velvet Underground was well into his fifth decade at the ’96 Video Music Awards. Hosted by Dennis Leary, big winners that night included Coolio, Alanis Morrisette, and Smashing Pumpkins.
3) Diana Ross, 55 Years-Old (1999): Who could forget the jiggle heard ’round the world? When Mary J. Blige accompanied Lil’ Kim, Lil’ Kim’s breast, and Motown sensation Diana Ross to present the award for Best Hip-Hop in ’99, all hell broke loose! The then-55-year-old Rosstook it upon herself to, on live television, cup and jiggle Kim’s pasty-covered, partially-exposed boobie.
Rest In Peace, Jerry Leiber
Jerry Leiber, one half of the songwriting team Leiber and Stoller, passed away today of heart failure. He was 78. With Mike Stoller, he wrote six top ten hits for the Coasters, three top tens for the Drifters, three #1 and four other top 20 Elvis Presley singles, and “Stand By Me”; we could go on for some time about the duo’s indispensable contributions to pre-Beatles rock and R&B, their other Billboard chart appearances (the total is over 100, for the record), their production credits (e.g. Stealers Wheel‘s “Stuck In The Middle With You”), their jukebox musical (Smokey Joe’s Cafe), their American Idol theme episode this season, and more, but sadly we can’t offer the tribute Leiber deserves. For more, check out Michaelangelo Matos‘s brisk, informative, and YouTube-embed-packed eulogy at Sound of the City, or seek out the second episode of the 1995 PBS documentary Rock & Roll.
My Morning Jacket Help Neko Case Cover Stevie Nicks
At a tornado relief benefit show in Tuscaloosa on Friday night, Neko Case, backed by My Morning Jacket, took on Stevie Nicks‘s “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (with MMJ frontman Jim James providing the Tom Petty vocals). Hear it at TwentyFourBit.com. [via Spin]