Lou Reed is among the most literate wordsmiths in rock & roll history. His first decade of post-Velvet Underground work included some undeniable high points (BERLIN, the David Bowie-produced TRANSFORMER) but he was plagued by inconsistency. Reed came back with a vengeance in the '80s and '90s, though, producing some truly powerful work (THE BLUE MASK, NEW YORK). Throughout his solo career he's collaborated with everyone from former bandmate John Cale to avant garde theater king Robert Wilson. Through it all, Reed remains the quintessential urban poet, and undoubtedly one of the most influential songwriters of the 20th century.