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. 2 - "Dirty Boulevard," 1989

New York didn’t have a major hit and that hurt Lou. "Dirty Boulevard" should have been that hit. Had it come out five years later, it almost certainly would have been. As usual, Lou was too far out in front of where music was.

It is catchy. It is sharp. It is poignant. It is New York.

No. 1 - "Street Hassle," 1978

"Street Hassle" is unlike any other song in pop music history. It begins with more than two minutes of an insistent cello playing a motif that will be repeated throughout the three stanzas of the song. The first part – "Waltzing Matilda" – is a typically nonjudgmental portrait of a one-night stand gone right. The second part – "Street Hassle" – is terrifying in its casual depiction of just how disposable a certain type of life can be.

And the final piece – "Slip Away" – which begins with a largely spoken word recitation by Bruce Springsteen – captures something that Lou often wrestled with – how to treat the ones who never seem to fit in. It was something he considered throughout his career.

"Coney Island Baby," which may have been number 16 on my list had I gone that far, comes at it from the other side. For such an opinionated, strong-willed writer, Lou had the amazing ability to see things from many different sides. You know – the way all great writers do.

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