One of the most influential figures in rock 'n' roll, Lou Reed was the co-founder and primary songwriter for the Velvet Underground, whose uncompromising records in the late 1960s sold few copies but, as producer Brian Eno once said, influenced everyone who heard them to start their own bands. His stark, highly poetic lyrics, rich with the drama and grit of the New York streets, placed him as a forerunner to the dark, desperate energy of punk, metal and avant-garde bands that followed in his wake, though the mercurial Reed would refuse allegiance to these movements. His eclectic inclinations were also reflected throughout his solo career, which encompassed the bleak beauty of Berlin (1973), the political charge of New York (1990), and the defiant experimentalism of Metal Machine Music (1975), a polarizing LP of feedback and noise. Throughout his career, Reed bucked industry expectations in favor of his own artistic instincts, which resulted in numerous commercial ups and downs. But Reed's music, steeped in the raw power of rock and the transformative nature of poetry, remained an artistic high point in popular music that set the bar for countless musicians in their own career, which in turn enshrined him as one of rock's most influential figures. His October 2013 death occasioned heartfelt eulogies and fond remembrances that belied his flinty, tough guy persona.