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Lou Reed returns to the spotlight after liver transplant

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Jun 21, 2013 | 7:22am EDT

Veteran rocker Lou Reed made his first public appearance since his life-saving liver transplant by taking centre stage at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France on Thursday (20Jun13). The 71-year-old music icon had to axe a number of gigs, including a performance at America's Coachella festival, to undergo the operation in Cleveland, Ohio earlier this year (13). Reed has remained out of the spotlight during the recovery process, but proved he is back on track by making an appearance at the huge advertising industry conference in Cannes on Thursday. The veteran musician looked frail during a question-and-answer session with business guru Tim Mellors, and appeared to make reference to his recent health crisis, saying, "How could time go that quickly? It never ceases to amaze me. The other day I was 19, I could fall down and get back up. Now if I fall down you are talking about nine months of physical therapy, make sure you take your vitamins. Is he OK?" However, Reed was still able to launch a savage attack on the digital music industry, insisting downloaded songs sound terrible when compared to vinyl records. He adds, "MP3s for God's sake. A really miserable sounding thing, people don't understand what they are missing. It has been reduced to the lowest common denominator... Before you had to search things out (now) here it all is (online). But it sounds like s**t." He also voiced his fears over the technical shake-up which revolutionised the music industry and brought record sales online, adding, "I understand young people were brought up on downloading and (late Apple boss) Steve Jobs tried to make it into some kind of business which benefits Apple but you (the artist) get about a sixteenth of a penny... You realise they are really f**king with you, so people didn't want to pay for anything. But meanwhile the musician doesn't get paid anything. Now making a record is kind of a promotional thing."

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