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Summary

Best known for his sinuous pop hit 'Walk on the Wild Side', Lou Reed was one of the most original and innovative songwriters of the rock era - a sardonic chronicler of underground culture and the dark side of human nature.

In the first major study of the artist since his death in 2013, biographer Howard Sounes shows how Reed's seminal work with the Velvet Underground in the 1960s shaped his career and reveals a talented but tortured man: a bisexual who married three times, an alcoholic and a drug user who struggled with mental health issues, was frequently quarrelsome and could be nasty but was nevertheless capable of writing beautiful songs.

Howard Sounes is known for writing detailed and revelatory biographies of a range of extraordinary personalities, including the murderers Fred and Rosemary West (Fred & Rose), the writer Charles Bukowski (Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life) and the musicians Bob Dylan (Down the Highway) and Paul McCartney (Fab).

For more information, visit www.howardsounes.com.

©2015 Howard Sounes (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

Critic reviews

"Through more than 140 interviews, Mr Sounes, who has previously written biographies on Charles Bukowski, Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney, portrays a troubled genius whose antisocial tendencies were evident even from his early years." ( The New York Times)
"Reading this compelling [book] is a reminder of how tolerant we can be of bad behaviour in the brilliant and famous." ( Sunday Telegraph)

What listeners say about Notes from the Velvet Underground

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an interesting life rendered unintelligible

some of the facts presented as gossip from lou were disproved by his sister before the book came out. it's a lazy sensationalist take of his life- there are much better books also, I wish they'd hired a real voice actor as opposed to the author who, despite his seeming beliefs, does not have a 'cool rock 'n' roll' voice.. I couldn't finish it, it was that bad

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WARTS and all Bio!

I loved Lou the artist but this book make the man hard to like. Does that matter? Probably not but I seriously think he'd have been an even better, more successful and more fulfilled artist if he'd listened to the advice of those who knew and cared eg Bowie.
That said, this is one author's view and he cuts Lou no slack . Read it and make up your own mind.

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  • Andreas Wiik
  • 07-08-17

A negative tone throughout

It's probably pretty accurate, and Lou Reed wasn't an easy person to get along with, and his work was of mixed quality. But I still believe that the tone of the book is too negative.

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  • M. Gordon
  • 30-12-20

Thorough and informative

Great book about the legendary Lou Reed. It goes in depth and is honest. The book keeps you hooked.