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Lou Reed dead at 71 -

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TONY EASTLEY: Lou Reed, considered to be one of the most influential rock and roll musicians of the 20th century, has died. He was 71.

The soloist and former frontman for the Velvet Underground had a liver transplant earlier this year, but the exact cause of his death has not been revealed.

He died in New York, the city of his birth.

AM's Martin Cuddihy prepared this tribute.

(Sound of song: Walk on the Wild Side)

MARTIN CUDDIHY: It's one of the songs we all know the words to.

Lou Reed's musical career began with the Velvet Underground.

(Sound of song: Sunday Morning)

Although now considered widely influential, the group didn't have commercial success early.

In 1965, Andy Warhol became the band's manager. Two years later, he encouraged the Velvet Underground to work with the German performer, Nico.

(Sound of song: Venus in Furs)

The album contained tracks like Venus in Furs, Heroin, and Sunday Morning.

Rolling Stone magazine later declared it number 13 on a list titled: The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Lou Reed toured Australia in 1974.

JOURNALIST: It said in your release that we were given this morning that you like lying to the press. Why is this? Now you're doing it now.

LOU REED: I didn't say that. The release did.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: At the airport he was asked about his lyrics detailing drug use.

JOURNALIST: Were you searched by our customs men for drugs?

LOU REED: Oh no, 'cause I don't take any.

JOURNALIST: No drugs at all?

LOU REED: Mm mm.

JOURNALIST: And yet you sing about them.

LOU REED: I'm high on life.

JOURNALIST: Do you want people to take drug themselves? Is this perhaps why you sing about drugs?

LOU REED: Oh yeah, I want 'em to take drugs.

JOURNALIST: Why is this.

LOU REED: 'Cause it's better than Monopoly.

(Sound of song: Heroin)

MARTIN CUDDIHY: In 1996 the Velvet Underground were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lou Reed then worked with a number of other artists, including the band Metallica.

(Sound of song: The View)

He also made a number of concept albums, including one with music for meditation.

(Sound of meditation track)

Lou Reed was a man who readily offered his opinions.

LOU REED: I was so sick and I still am. All these so-called rock groups that don't do anything about anything and don't mean anything about anything, and they never have and they never will.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: Jim Derogatis has written extensively about the Velvet Underground.

JIM DEROGATIS: The roots of all modern music can be found in the Velvet Underground. And Brian Eno famously said that the Velvet Underground did not sell a lot a records in its time but everyone who bought one went out and started a band.

(Sound of song: Walk on the Wild Side).

MARTIN CUDDIHY: The artist's management is yet to confirm how Lou Reed died, but in May this year, he underwent a liver transplant.

TONY EASTLEY: Martin Cuddihy with that report.