If the VU invented NYC rock & roll, the Strokes did a nifty job of reminding the kids why it felt so damn good. These pretty teens in skinny jeans would go on to cover Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” but the band’s breakout album, Is This It, was the real hit.
Hypnotic, messed-up vocals; chiming, filthy guitars; and effortless, effortless cool—Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore said the song was about appointing Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis President—make this a perfect part of Reed’s misfit lineage.
“We started getting booed as soon as we came onstage,” cofounder Alan Vega has said of early Suicide shows. “Just from the way we looked they started giving us hell already.” If that’s not reason enough to include NYC art punks Suicide on this list…
Ecstatic, narcotic longing permeates the Femmes’ “Good Feeling.” Bassist Brian Ritchie recently said of the Velvet Underground, “They were the ones that made rock & roll intelligent. [Lou Reed] was a true artist. He didn’t care what people thought. He wanted to do what he wanted to do, regardless of the impact. I see him as a heroic figure.”
David Berman’s Silver Jews project received a ton of VU comparisons, but this witty, sad, funny number is actually written about Jesus Christ rather than Lou Reed. Perfect, then.