While Reed is best known as a vocalist, guitarist and songwriter in The Velvet Underground and as a solo artist, he also leaves behind a legacy of more experimental noise music.
His Metal Machine Music – an hourlong noise music double-album – has no recognizable songs, melodies or structure, offering, instead, feedback and effects-drenched electric guitar. When it was released in 1975, it was seen by many as a throw-away album to fulfill contractual obligations to his record company or as a self-indulgent experiment. In the years since, though, Metal Machine Music has been embraced as an important example of drone music, industrial music and noise rock.
Reed was married to performance artist Laurie Anderson.