A Goodbye Letter to Andy Warhol - "Songs for Drella" by Lou Reed and John Cage
In high school, my friend Mike was one of the few music connoisseurs that I actually knew. Mike had collections of albums from the Beatles, Rush, Metallica, Jesus and the Mary Chain, and the Velvet Underground and dozens of other bands in a variety of styles and genres. Unlike most of my friends of that age that claimed to "really understand" music (mostly to seem cool), Mike's love of music was personal and steeped in his confidence of his musical choices. It was with Mike that I listened to Lou Reed for the first time, starting with his album "New York" and then moving through his catalog back to the Velvets.
I was a senior in high school when "Songs for Drella", Reed's collaboration with John Cage, came out. Warhol had only died a few years before and in many ways Warhol's sphinx-like persona made him largely inaccessible to a non-art student like me. However, that changed with "Songs for Drella". The song cycle roughly follows the events of Warhol's life: his upbringing in Pittsburgh, starting his career in NYC, the founding of the Factory, his followers and his attempted murder by Valerie Solanos and his later years as elder statesman in the New York art scene.