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Critics' Choice
HEY NEW YORKERS! LOU REED'S
IN THE LIBRARY
3/2/17

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts has acquired Lou Reed’s complete archives. Reed’s widow Laurie Anderson and the Lincoln Center-based library chose Lou’s 75th birthday to make the announcement.

There’s a lot in there—3,600 audio recordings, 1,300 video recordings and 300 linear feet of paper records, electronic records, and photographs—that dates back to his 1958 Freeport High School band, The Shades.

The Lou Reed Archive will be processed over the next year at NYPL's Library Services Center in Long Island City, and then made available for research at the Library for the Performing Arts' Music Division and Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.

"What better place to have this than in the heart of the city he loved the best?,” Anderson said. “It takes a while to see a life as a whole and now that the first step of the archive is complete we can step back and begin to see some dazzling new patterns in the work Lou made in his long and intense life as an artist.

“My dream has always been to make Lou’s work completely accessible to the public. You don't have to have any special credentials. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts has made this possible."

Credential-free, we made a list of the things we’d like to check out on a visit.

Studio notes from Lou Reed, Transformer, Berlin and Metal Machine Music.

Road manager notes from 1972, 1974 and 1990.

Tapes of interviews from 1965, 1974, 1989 and 2006/7.

His personal collections of books, LPs and 45s.

All 25 hours of recordings made at the Bottom Line in 1978 from which the Take No Prisoners live album was  created.

Correspondence with, we’re hoping, John Cale, Andy Warhol, William S. Burroughs, David Bowie, Doc Pomus, Jimmy Scott, John Zorn, Philip Glass and, of course, Laurie Anderson.