Lou Reed’s philosophical outlook – both in his life and in his music – is generally regarded as dark and gritty. But according to his recent biographer, the punk pioneer had a soft spot for lighter fare.

Lou Reed

“He loved pop music and that was true [although he] wasn't always doing that, by any means,” says Anthony DeCurtis, speaking with NPR. “But he was taking pop elements. On the first Velvet Underground record, if you listen to a track like "There She Goes Again," he lifts Marvin Gaye's "Hitch Hike" for the riff. There's an element of loving what pop music is and all of those teenage emotions. Lou's deep, passionate love of doo-wop and that kind of adolescent ‘swept-away-on-the-wings-of-love’ … it was a very essential emotion for him and it remained that way.”

DeCurtis also revealed that Reed felt ambivalent about the commercial success of his biggest hit, 1972’s “Walk on the Wild Side.”

“He saw himself as an artist and he saw himself as wanting to do serious things and take left turns and go in new directions,” says DeCurtis. “So the degree to which the record company was like, ‘Oh great, we got a hit, now let's do Take Another Walk On The Wild Side, or Walk On The Wild Side Again,’ that kind of irritated him.”