When Lou Reed passed away in 2013 the mass outpouring of grief was a profound display of just how much he meant to so many people. His music both as a solo artist, in The Velvet Underground or the various collaborations that he embarked upon throughout his career, was the sort of art that celebrate the joys of living and made sense of pain in such an exuberant fashion that you were almost gladdened that life is tragic after all.
Nowhere was the posthumous Lou Reed love-in more abundant than at the public memorial at the Lincoln Centre in his native and beloved New York City. Present amid the celebrations of the life and works of one of New York’s proudest sons was his wife Laurie Anderson.
“Lou’s music was super personal,” Anderson told WNYC, “so most the people just come up and say he changed my life when he was 11, and it’s so touching. He was somebody who talked very directly to people.” Anderson’s creative works, whether that be her music, film direction, performance art or otherwise, similarly humanises the avant-garde and unearths the core purposes of artistry.
When asked what her favourite ever Lou Reed song was, she replied very simply: “’Power of The Heart’.” She is then asked, “Is it about you?” To which she replies with a beaming smile, “It is!”
She later referenced the song when making a speech at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “I am so happy that Lou’s name is added to the list of people who will be remembered for the beautiful music they made,” She began. “Lou, my sweet one, I love the last song you wrote, ‘The Power of the Heart’.”
She then continued to quote this heartfelt stanza from his poignant swansong, “You know me I like to dream a lot / Of what there is and what there’s not / But mainly I dream of you a lot / The power of the heart.” Before concluding:“The power of the heart. I accept this in your name. One more time ‘Louuuuu!’” And with barely a dry eye in sight and impromptu roar of “Lou” erupted in a fitting moment of raucous upheaval.
The song itself was written by Lou Reed in 2008 and later performed by Peter Gabriel in 2010. The song is an achingly sweet ode to Laurie Anderson and the love that the couple shared. The song was befittingly written for the pair’s wedding and featured a floating string performance very much in the style of Laurie Anderson; however, it can’t be ratified for certain whether she is playing as the credit list is unavailable from the Cartier Foundation compilation on which it was released.
What is for certain is that Lou Reed songs done come much more blissful than this. It carries the same dreamy, introspective weight of ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ but basks in the sanguine hue of pure pillow-propped content.