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Cool Hand Lou: The Transformations of Lou Reed

Barney Hoskyns, Vogue, February 1992

SINCE THE RELEASE of Growing up in Public in 1980, Lou Reed has pretty much grown up in private. In 1981 he not only stopped drinking and drugging but dispensed with what the late Lester Bangs, in an inspired attack on his hero in 1975, called the "pseudo-decadence" of his post-Velvet Underground records. With 1983’s The Blue Mask, his best album since Berlin, Lou took sober stock of his notorious past. "They put a pin through the nipples on his chest," he sang in the savage self-portrait of the title song. "He thought he was a saint."

Total word count of piece: 656

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