Saturday November 22, 2014

Canadian artists remember Lou Reed, who played during Vancouver Olympics

Influential musician Lou Reed was no stranger to Canada, playing gigs here over several decades and having an effect on Canadian artists.

In one of his final appearances in Canada, Reed took to the stage with Elvis Costello, Ron Sexsmith and others during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics to pay tribute to fellow musical icon Neil Young.

Clad in all black with a demeanour that could only be described as all business, Reed hammered his guitar through a performance of Young's "Helpless" before accompanying vocalist Jenni Muldaur on a rendition of "Harvest."

And he returned months later for a Montreal International Jazz Festival for an avant-garde performance with widow Laurie Anderson and composer John Zorn.

Reed's literary agent Andrew Wylie confirmed the legendary musician died Sunday morning in Southampton at age 71 of an ailment related to his recent liver transplant.

Reed performed numerous shows in Canada going back decades, with early solo shows in Toronto and Montreal in the 1970s, according to concert tracking service SongKick.

British musician and former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett told Britain's The Guardian newspaper that fights broke out between Genesis and Reed supporters when the progressive rock band opened for Reed in a 1973 gig at Toronto's Massey Hall.

"There were people who wanted to watch Genesis, and people who wanted to watch Lou Reed. And that deteriorated into a punch-up between the Lou Reed fans who were on downers, and the Genesis fans who were more into Earl Grey tea," Hackett told the paper in 2011.

Several Canadian musicians took to Twitter to remember Reed, who led pioneering 1960s art-rock band Velvet Underground.

"Just got some sad news....Lou Reed has passed away. Huge loss. No words," tweeted singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith.

"Can't overstate lou reed's influence on me. inspired me not to take the easy road. got his words on my arm. RIP," said rapper Cadence Weapon.

"Transformer is a timeless record. RIP LOU," said ex-Alexisonfire member Wade MacNeil of Reed's 1972 album that had the classic hit "Walk on the Wild Side."

"Dear Lou Reed, please rest in peace," said pop-rocker Leslie Feist.

Tom Wilson of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings tweeted: "The last Folk Singer dies."

With files from The Associated Press

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