Lou Reed was first known as the songwriter and singer for the hugely influential and acclaimed Velvet Underground. He released his self titled debut solo album in 1972. It consisting of songs originally written during the Velvet years. David Bowie produced Transformer later that year and included a surprise hit, "Walk On The Wild Side." The song reached the UK Top 10 and US Top 20, his only track to enter the pop charts in either the US or UK. In 1973 Reed released the dark Berlin, which has since been hailed as one of his best albums and it made it to #7 in the UK. The more commercial Sally Can't Dance was his highest charting album in the US, reaching #10, although it was savaged by critics. The album was book ended by two live albums, Rock n Roll Animal and Lou Reed Live. Next, the infamous curio Metal Machine Music was unleashed, the album being filled with atonal electronic noise. Reed returned with the low key and acclaimed Coney Island Baby. His 1976 follow up, Rock 'N' Roll Hear,t was not greeted with great reviews, but 1978's Street Hassle was hailed as one of his best albums. Also that year was the bizarre Live: Take No Prisoners, a double live set with only ten songs and lots of Reed joking and talking.
Reed continued to receive mixed reviews in 1979 and throughout the '80s with The Bells, Growing Up in Public, The Blue Mask, Legendary Hearts, New Sensations and Mistrial. The latter two featured the minor US rock hits, "I Love You Suzanne" and "No Money Down," respectively. Reed came back to huge acclaim with 1989's New York. It reached the Top 20 in the UK and Dirty Blvd. became a #1 US Modern Rock track, as well as #11 Rock. Busload of Faith was another US Modern Rock hit, reaching #11. Reed continued his critical renewal on 1990's Songs For 'Drella and 1992's Magic And Loss. Songs For 'Drella was a collaboration with former Velvet Underground band mate John Cale and was hailed as a moving tribute to their early patron Andy Warhol. From it, Nobody But You was a US Top 20 Modern Rock hit. Magic And Loss featured the US #1 Modern Rock hit, "What's Good" and the album went to #6 in the UK, his biggest album ever in the UK.
In 1993, Reed reunited with Velvet Underground for a European tour and live album. Set The Twilight Reeling, inspired by his romance with musician/performance artist Laurie Anderson, received some good reviews in 1996 and made the UK Top 30. 2000's Ecstasy was also very well received, as was 2003's The Raven, featuring lyrics adapted from Edgar Allen Poe.