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(Credit: Faber & Faber)

Martin Scorsese: "Lou Reed spoke the language of people with nothing... and he elevated them"


Martin Scorsese has been reflecting on the significance of Lou Reed’s pioneering lyricism in a new reflection on the singer’s legacy.

The acclaimed filmmaker, who first met Reed at a restaurant in Los Angeles, went on to form a friendship with The Velvet Underground frontman and they discussed the work of Delmore Schwartz, life in New York and at the time, the making of Raging Bull.

While Scorsese was keen to try and build a working relationship with Reed, the projects never managed to materialise. Unusually, perhaps in consideration to most Reed fans, the filmmaker was first attached to Reed’s solo material before later discovering the Velvet Underground albums. Despite his unique exploration of the ‘Pale Blue Eyes‘ singer’s work, Scorsese has always held a long admiration for his poetry and, in a new article for The Guardian, the filmmaker as detailed his connection with Reed’s words.

“Lou’s lyrics have two lives: as they are sung and heard, and as they are read on the printed page,” Scorsese wrote in his article. “And I think that they could only have come from someone who grew up in the New York area and came of age in Manhattan, who moved and wrote and sang from the pulse of life in this city.”

Scorsese added: “He actually spoke and sang in the voice of the lowest of the low, the dregs, the “least among us” – the people looking to follow the first thing that gives them the right to be. He spoke the language of people with nothing but their own humanity, and he elevated them.

“His words and his music – sometimes as close to everyday life as breathing – inspired many, many people over the years. I’m one of them.”