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Couple’s Wisdom: Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson’s three “rules to live by”

Lou Reed

Lou Reed was, in many ways, a man of few words. A difficult interviewee at the best of times, and always brief and to-the-point at award ceremonies, he chose to express himself through lyrics and prose rather than public speaking.

lou reed's rules to live by

In 2015, Laurie Anderson gave a speech on behalf of Lou Reed for his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and with it, shared their three golden rules to live by.

Towards the end of his life though, he began to soften, and with it, open himself up to the world in ways he had never done before. Many attribute this change to his relationship with fellow musician and composer Laurie Anderson.

On the occasion of his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April, 2015, Anderson gave beautiful acceptance speech on behalf of Reed, one more eloquent than he had ever been in similar situations (Reed’s Velvet Underground acceptance in ’96 was about as brief as they get).

During the speech she reflected on memories of her time with Reed, extraordinarily wise ruminations on love and death, as well as her and Lou’s “rules to live by”.

Lou crosses my mind every hour. After a year and a half, I’m still waiting for him to call and sometimes he actually does call and suddenly I remember one of his phrases or some random words or songs we made up. And I’m reminded also of the three rules we came up with – rules to live by. And I’m going to tell you what they are because they come in really handy because things happen so fast it’s good to have a few catchwords to fall back on when there’s not enough time to think.

The first one is don’t be afraid of anyone. Now can you imagine living your life so that you are afraid of no one? And second is get a really good bullshit detector and learn how to use it.
 And third is be really, really tender. And with those three things, you don’t need anything else.”

Simple.

Watch Anderson’s speech below (she reveals the three rules around the 8:55 mark):

You can read the full speech here.

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July 6, 2017