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April 12: Lou Reed and Red Shirley

April 12, 2012

Rock and roller Lou Reed married his long-time companion, performance artist Laurie Andersen, on this date in 2008. Reed was a founding member of the Velvet Underground, which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. As a songwriter, he is one of rock’s great storytellers; as a guitarist, he introduced a heavy, droning sound that strongly influenced garage rock and punk; as a personality, he brought bisexuality into the rock and roll mainstream and gave airtime to gay and transgender people in his songs, most notably in “Take a Walk on the Wild Side.” Reed is also the cousin of the late Shirley Novick, a farbrenter leftist who was married to Paul Novick, editor of the Yiddish Morgn Frayhayt, and who worked behind sewing machines for 47 years. Shortly before her death at 102 last year, Reed released a film, Red Shirley, which you can watch below.

“You scream, I scream — we all want egg creams!” —Lou Reed