Comedienne Kathy Griffin joined Blondie rocker Debbie Harry in an impromptu singalong for her hit song Hanging on the Telephone during Griffin's stint as co-host for CNN's New Year's Eve special with newsman with Anderson Cooper.
Debbie Harry, Paul Simon and Patti Smith were among the stars who turned out to honour late rocker Lou Reed at a tribute show in New York City on Monday night (16Dec13). Reed's family and friends were in the audience for the show at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, which was organised by his widow Laurie Anderson and marked 50 days since his death from liver disease at the age of 71.
The emotional event included musical tributes from artists including Blondie star Harry, who sang Velvet Underground's White Light, White Heat, and Simon, who moved the crowd with a performance of Pale Blue Eyes.
Patti Smith performed Reed's anthem Perfect Day, and other performers at the show included singer/songwriter Emily Haines, The Persuasions, and Jenni Muldaur.
Spoken word pieces were delivered by a number of other attendees, including moviemaker Julian Schnabel and Reed's former Velvet Underground bandmate Maureen Tucker.
Anderson also spoke at the event and picked up her violin to play a song she had composed for her late husband.
Guests in the audience included music mogul Clive Davis, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star Richard Belzer, and author Salman Rushdie.
Lou Reed succumbed to liver disease at his home in Long Island, New York, according to the late rocker's doctor. The former Velvet Underground frontman died on Sunday (27Oct13) after battling poor health for months.
Dr. Charles Miller, who performed a liver transplant on Reed at the Cleveland Clinic in April (13), tells the New York Times that the rocker returned to Ohio last week (bes21Oct13) for further treatment.
The medic told Reed his condition could no longer be treated, and the singer/songwriter opted to return to the home he shared with his wife Laurie Anderson.
The doctor says, "We all agreed that we did everything we could."
Tributes from the music world have been pouring in for Reed since news of his death was released. Blondie stars Debbie Harry and Chris Stein and Talking Heads frontman David Byrne added their thoughts about the rock star in statements on Monday (28Oct13).
Harry wrote, "I'm so sad that he's gone but his hypnotic voice telling a story of a Perfect Day, or the devil let loose in White Light/White Heat will live forever."
Her bandmate Stein added, "Lou was one of a handful of originals. I don't think that the conditions that created him will again even be approximated, let alone duplicated."
And Byrne stated, "His work and that of the Velvets was a big reason I moved to NY and I don't think I'm alone there. We wanted to be in a city that nurtured and fed that kind of talent."
Blondie stars Debbie Harry and Chris Stein have added their names to the long list of celebrities paying tribute to the late Lou Reed, who died on Sunday (27Oct13) at the age of 71. The punk icons have recalled magical moments with the former Velvet Underground frontman in statements released on Monday (28Oct13).
Harry remembers, "The first time I saw the Velvet Underground with Lou Reed it was in the 1960s at a place on the Lower East Side (of New York) called The Balloon Farm. That day I became a lifelong devotee of the iconoclastic sound and style of Lou and the Velvets.
"I'm so sad that he's gone but his hypnotic voice telling a story of a Perfect Day, or the devil let loose in White Light/White Heat will live forever."
Her bandmate Stein adds, "I had many encounters with Lou over the years and he was always charming and polite. I just never ran into his infamous dark side... Lou was one of a handful of originals. I don't think that the conditions that created him will again even be approximated, let alone duplicated."
And Stein recalls a really amazing night when his band was asked to open for the Velvet Underground: "When I was 17 years old in 1967, my friends and I were fascinated by the Velvets' first amazing album. A close friend of mine worked for (Andy) Warhol. One night he arrived at my house in Brooklyn and told my friends and I that the band who was supposed to open for the Velvets in NYC had cancelled and would we like to replace them.
"We got on the subway with our guitars and went to a venue on the Upper West Side, called the Gymnasium. Maureen Tucker let us use her drums; turn them right side up even and we used the Velvets' amps. We played our little blues rock set and at the end someone came over and said, 'Oh, Andy thought you were terrific'.
" There were maybe 30 people there. The Velvets came on and were just powerful. They used the echo-y acoustics of the place to their advantage. This was a moment that shaped my musical life and I tell the story frequently."
Other tributes have poured in since the news of Reed's death broke, including notes, statements and tweets from the likes of his friend and VU bandmate John Cale, The Who, the Pixies, Patrick Carney, Morrissey, Ryan Adams, Nikki Sixx, Steven Tyler and Cyndi Lauper, among others.
And Talking Heads frontman David Byrne offered up his thoughts on Monday in a statement that reads: "No surprise I was a big fan, and his music, with and without the Velvets, was a big influence on myself and Talking Heads. He came to see us at CBGB (in New York) numerous times, and I remember three of us going to visit him at his Upper East Side apartment after one of our very early gigs there.
"I kept in touch with Lou over the years. We'd run into one another at concerts or at various NY cultural events and benefits... More recently I'd see Lou and (wife) Laurie (Anderson) socially - we'd join mutual friends for dinner sometimes and at concerts. He and Laurie never stopped checking out emerging artists, bands and all sorts of performances.
"His work and that of the Velvets was a big reason I moved to NY and I don't think I'm alone there. We wanted to be in a city that nurtured and fed that kind of talent."