The internet goes crazy whenever somebody famous dies. The tributes pour out, everybody puts "RIP" on twitter, videos go up on facebook (I did this the other day when Davy Jones died), and you get a real sense of what these artists meant to people.
Unfortunately, the artists themselves don't get a sense of this. Because they're dead. Honoring somebody after they're dead completely sucks because the honoree can't appreciate or enjoy it. If we really want to honor artists, we should praise them while they're alive and might possibly be able to appreciate the fact that their work has touched people.
So I'm going to be using this space periodically (I was going to try to do it every day, but let's face it, that's not gonna happen) to salute living artists on their birthdays, which is a much better day to be appreciated than your deathday.
Today is March 2. My late wife Kirsten was born 44 years ago today. She was always tickled that she shared a birthday with Lou Reed, who's turning 70 today.
I can't add anything to what's been written about the influence and awesomeness of the Velvet Underground, or about Lou's impact on the punk rock I loved as a teen, so I will say these two things.
1.)Lou's New York is one of my favorite albums of the 1980's.
2.)There are tons of tribute songs to dead people, but very few people in popular music have written well about the experience of grief. But Lou did. (Exene is another, but it's not her birthday.)
So here he is on Letterman performing "What's Good." Thanks, Lou, for this song and for all the pleasure your music brought me over the years. Happy Birthday!