Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed (March 2, 1942 – October 27, 2013) was an American musician, singer and songwriter. He was the guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter of the Velvet Underground, and his solo career spanned five decades. The Velvet Underground was unsuccessful during their active years, but gained a significant cult following to become one of the most widely acclaimed and influential bands in rock history. Brian Eno famously stated that, while the Velvet Underground's debut album sold only 30,000 copies, "everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band".
Reed's solo career began in 1972. He had a hit the following year with "Walk on the Wild Side", but this level of mainstream commercial success was not repeated. Reed was known for his distinctive deadpan voice and poetic lyrics, and for pioneering and coining the term ostrich guitar tuning. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time included two albums by Reed as a solo artist: Transformer and Berlin, and also included the Velvet Underground albums The Velvet Underground & Nico, White Light/White Heat, The Velvet Underground and Loaded.