Lewis Allen "Lou" Reed (born March 2, 1942), is an American rock and roll singer-songwriter, originally from Brooklyn, New York. Especially while a member of the Velvet Underground in the 1960s, Reed broke new ground for the rock genre in several important dimensions, influencing rock music in general, introducing more mature and intellectual themes to what was then considered a music genre for children and teenagers.

Role in the fall of Communism in Czechoslovakia[]

Rock music, especially that of Frank Zappa and Lou Reed and Velvet Underground, and the Czech band Plastic People of the Universe, inspired Counterculture leaders such as Vaclav Havel (the Czech playwright, human rights campaigner who later became president) and other dissidents during their struggle against Soviet rule.

According to an interview given Punk magazine, Lou Reed claimed that when he visited Vaclav Havel after the Velvet Revolution's success, Havel presented Reed with a locally printed edition of Velvet Underground song lyrics in Czech translation. Such books had been compiled by dissidents while in prison, Havel told Reed. Havel, says Reed, explained to the surprised rock singer that the Czech counter culture had taken the name of its bloodless revolution from the name of Reed's band, Velvet Underground.