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Lou Reed Once Beat the Crap Out of David Bowie


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Remember that time Lou Reed absolutely pummeled David Bowie at a London restaurant? We don't, but in Uncut's giant Bowie: Ultimate Music Guide (via NME), an interesting tidbit about the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers comes to light: According to rock lore, Bowie and Reed, friends at the time, were dining together after the Velvet Underground singer's performance at that Hammersmith Odeon in 1979. Something was said between the two, and all of a sudden witnesses watched as Reed started punching Bowie.

Keep in mind, this happened just after Bowie's drugged-out Berlin years, when he was attempting to quit his numerous drug addictions. According to Uncut, the fight was sparked when Bowie said he'd only produce Reed's solo album if Reed himself sobered up. If David Bowie tells you to sober up, you probably have a major problem. This incensed Reed, and it reportedly took nine people to pull him off Bowie. After the initial wave of fury dissipated, the two legends made up, but the peace only lasted a few seconds before Reed "was seen dragging Bowie across the table by his shirt and hitting him in the face." Lou was then escorted out of the restaurant, for good reason.

Reed has a history of being combative and short-tempered, often ending interviews prematurely when faced with a question he doesn't like. Asking him about this incident might be dangerous. Bowie harbored no ill will, however. Three years later after getting his ass kicked, the Thin White Duke co-produced and sang backup on Reed's best solo album, Transformer. Fast forward to 1997, and Reed was on hand when Bowie celebrated his 50th birthday at Madison Square Garden, a concert that won't be heading to DVD after all. This is certainly a tale for that Bowie memoir all the publishing houses want.

[Photo: L. Busacca/]

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