Monday 19 March 2018


Sad loss: Lou Reed's death has robbed the art world of one of its great songwriters
Sad loss: Lou Reed's death has robbed the art world of one of its great songwriters
John Meagher

John Meagher

With this column named after Velvet Underground's greatest album, it's fair to say that we were much obsessed with the music of Lou Reed, whose death at 71 on Sunday robbed the arts world of one of its great songwriters.

Unlike many of those who leave a much admired band to go it alone, post-Velvet Underground Reed was arguably as influential as when he fronted the art-rock visionaries. A trio of 1970s albums, Transformer, Berlin and Street Hassle have only grown in stature since their original release.

His most recent Irish appearance saw him perform Berlin in its entirety at Live at the Marquee, Cork, and many will recall his shows at the Helix in 2003, which introduced local audiences to a then unknown Antony Hegarty.

By all accounts he could be a truculent figure – he reduced at least one Irish journalist to tears when she got him on a particularly bad day – but ultimately he will be remembered for the brilliance of his songs and for pushing rock into thrilling new areas.

* Lady Gaga's forthcoming album, ARTPOP, will be as eagerly awaited by an ailing record industry as it will be by her most fervent fans and now – in a sure sign for the future – certain UK mobile phone customers will be able to get her album five days before its release there.

In a deal struck between O2 and Polydor Records, Gaga's third album will be available to purchase from the cellular network's new music app, O2 Tracks.

It's a big coup for O2 Tracks, which was launched in February as a partnership between O2 and British startup MusicQubed. The £1-a-week app is available for Android, iPhone, Windows Phone and BlackBerry smartphones, and enables users to download each week's Top 40 singles chart to their handset.

News of the exclusive is likely to surprise those who were expecting ARTPOP to make its first appearance within Lady Gaga's own official app for the album, which was first announced by the star in September 2012 as "the most major way to fully immerse yourself in ARTPOP".

* Just weeks after Fleetwood Mac wowed them at Dublin's O2, the band have been forced to cancel several dates of their world tour after bassist John McVie was diagnosed with cancer. Shows on the Australian and New Zealand leg have been scrapped so that McVie can undergo treatment.

Irish Independent

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