Lou Reed never made a meaningful connection with the average radio listener. He never created music to be turned up and pumped through frat houses, and he never wrote songs that would be sung by large groups of students at high school dancers. For the small minority really into music, however, he twisted, turned and pushed genres in different directions. He poured his soul out emotionally, found true connections with the weirdos and inspired an incredibly high percentage of his listeners to start their own bands and find their own voices. The history of Rock N Roll will note he was far more influential than he was popular. For a man who placed a premium on doing everything his own way, he no doubt would have taken that as a badge of honor.

Not a whole lot of details have emerged yet, but according to Rolling Stone, the beloved musician passed away today. Several months back, he underwent a liver transplant. Given the time frame, it seems likely that may have played a role in the passing, but we won’t know for sure until someone from the family speaks on the record. He was just seventy-one-years-old.

Reed began his career in the mid 1960s. He achieved moderate success with a parody of popular dance tracks and soon met John Cale. Out of that partnership came The Velvet Underground and several of the most prestigious and beloved albums of all time. They, of course, didn’t sell very well, but they were treasured by rock critics and hardcore music fans. After leaving the group in 1970, Reed embarked on a more than forty year solo career that produced such important albums as Transformer and Berlin.

Reed is survived by his wife and longtime partner Laurie Anderson. Pop Blend sends out its sincerest well-wishes to her, as well as the rest of Reed’s family and friends and everyone who was touched by the singer’s work.

If you’ve got a few minutes, listen to Reed’s classic “Walk On The Wild Side”…