He wrote the immortal songs "Disco Mystic," "My Little Red Joy Stick," and "I'm Just a Gift (To The Women of the World)".
He was simultaneously way too smart for rock n' roll and dumb enough to believe in its redemptive power. When I was in junior high, reading the latest skirmish between Lou and Lester Bangs in CREEM was like a teenager's version of William F. Buckley's FIRING LINE...for freaks.
In 1978 I was president of the Moon High School Lou Reed Club, not that there was much to preside over (check the yearbook if you think I'm shitting you). On a record player obtained from the A.V. room, I'd play "Vicious" off TRANSFORMER. I liked that the lyrics seemed tossed off in about one minute instead of dreadfully earnest rock opera crap. Maybe five kids would attend, mostly because I'd also play METAL MACHINE MUSIC and the sponsoring teacher would suddenly urgently need a cigarette break, allowing them to do one hitters while she was gone.
David Bowie was good, but he didn't have a rock 'n roll bone in his body. The Rolling Stones seemed geared more towards the popular kids. I had not heard the Stooges. I was working my way backwards to the Velvets. I was getting into punk but didn't see the Lou Reed DNA strand encoded in its helix. Lou I couldn't figure. I still can't. I liked that about him.
At almost every meeting, someone would sneer "Lou Reed sucks" just like you can hear someone in the audience opine after the last song on LOU REED LIVE. How many artists would have left that on there? How many would probably take a perverse pride in it? Good ol' Lou.