Lou Reed's 15 greatest post-Velvet Underground songs

Lou Reed is most closely associated with his first band, the Velvet Underground, but he had an extraordinary body of solo work as well.
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No. 7 - "Work," 1991

I debated whether to include any tracks from Songs For Drella, the Andy Warhol tribute album Lou, and former Velvet Underground bandmate John Cale produced after Warhol’s death. After all, it is a collaborative, as opposed to a solo, effort. But it is such an audacious, wonderful project, and of all the songs, "Work," chronicling Lou’s specific relationship with Andy, seems about as Lou as you can get. It is a great rock song on a great concept album.

No. 6 - "Video Violence," 1986

Tipper Gore founded the Parents Music Resource Center in 1985, and a number of artists felt the need to respond to what they saw as an attack on artistic liberty. Lou Reed, as was often the case, did it better than just about anyone. His lyrics don’t so much as give pop music a pass as place it in a larger context.

By pointing out how desperate and depraved society at large is, pop music just becomes one more piece of a global problem. It is so much better than the basic middle finger that most musicians were giving to the morality police. And it just happens to be an excellent rocker to boot.

No. 5 - "Halloween Parade," 1989

Transformer is Reed’s best-known album, but 1989’s New York contains his best solo work. "Halloween Parade" is among the most touching songs he ever wrote. Delivered in the flat, observational voice that was his trademark, Lou documents New York’s annual Halloween parade that had become a landmark in gay culture, and remarks on how many people are now missing. It is one of the sweetest, saddest songs about the onset of the AIDS epidemic.