There's a bit of magic in everything — especially Lou Reed's old papers and possessions.
The rock guitarist and songwriter's archive are coming to the New York Public Library's research collection, a library press release announced Thursday morning, on what would have been the artist's 75th birthday. (Reed died in October 2013.)
The extensive archive — roughly 300 linear feet of paper and electronic records and photographs, 3,600 audio recordings and 1,300 videos — spans the Brooklyn-born musician's entire career, starting with his 1958 Freeport High School band, The Shades. It includes everything from original handwritten lyrics to tour itineraries to original demo recordings.
"The archive is a panoramic picture of Lou’s music, pictures, friendships, writing, tai chi and performances as well as a recreation of the scenes and cities he worked in and loved," Reed's widow, Laurie Anderson, said in a statement about her gift to the NYPL. "What better place to have this than in the heart of the city he loved the best?"
A selection of Reed's notebooks, correspondence and other artifacts will be on display at the Library for the Performing Arts near Lincoln Center and the Schwarzman Building at Bryant Park through March 20. It will take the NYPL a year to process the rest of its newly acquired treasure trove, but here are some of the highlights the library shared with us:
The handwritten lyrics for the song "Tatters"
"Tatters" appears on Reed's 18th album, "Ecstasy," which was released in 2000.
One crazy Warhol-esque vest
This pullover vest has to be a Warhol. Reed's band The Velvet Underground caught the pop artist's attention in the mid-1960s and he served as its manager.
A page from Reed's high school yearbook
The priceless inscription penned by one of Reed's best friends refers to him as "Freeport's gigolo." (Reed's biography says he likes "basketball, music, and naturally, girls," so we doubt he would have objected to the nickname.) The senior graduated from Freeport High School in 1959.
Two receipts from Max's Kansas City
A hip nightspot in the '60s and '70s, Max's Kansas City opened on Park Avenue South in 1965. It quickly became a magnet for artists, actors, musicians, poets and their groupies. The Velvet Underground recorded a live album there in 1970.