Remembering Lou Reed: The Velvet Underground & Solo Covers Spotify Playlist


Iconic rocker Lou Reed was 71 years old when he died on this date in 2013 following a liver transplant earlier in the year. The frontman and principal songwriter in The Velvet Underground, Reed was responsible for some of the most beloved and well-known songs in rock history as part of the influential band and during his solo career.

Brian Eno famously said that while the VU’s first record sold poorly, everyone that bought the group’s seminal 1967 debut LP The Velvet Underground & Nico was influenced to start a band. In remembrance of a true iconoclast of American art and culture, a poet, writer and profoundly influential musician, below is a 21-track Spotify Playlist of covers of songs performed by Reed either as a solo artist or with his VU mates.

The roster of musicians featured is as eclectic as Reed, opening with a version of “I’m Set Free” by Yo La Tengo and closing with a rendition of the song released earlier this year on Eno’s The Ship album. Legendary musicians such as David Bowie, Ralph Stanley and Glen Campbell are included alongside covers by Nirvana, U2, The Modern Lovers, Big Star, Joy Division, Nick Cave and R.E.M.

There’s also “Sweet Jane” from Phish’s Halloween show on 1998 in which they covered all of Loaded as well as covers of tracks from the same record by Cat Power, Jane’s Addiction and Rich Robinson. Arrangements of tunes by G. Love, Julian Casablancas, Shovels & Rope with Preservation Hall Jazz Band and a few others round out the collection that can be streamed below: