“I was trying to do the ultimate guitar solo”: Lou Reed once recorded a double album consisting solely of guitar feedback – but his label took it off sale after three weeks

Lou Reed performing at the Paradise Theater (now the Paradise Rock Club) in Boston, Massachusetts, 8th March 1978
(Image credit: Barbara Alper/Getty Images)

In 1975, Lou Reed crafted what can be best described as a very avant-garde double album. Metal Machine Music, his fifth studio album, featured no songs and structured compositions. Instead, Reed opted for modulated feedback, white noise, and noise music guitar effects. Reed's reasoning? “I was trying to do the ultimate guitar solo.”

“I didn't want to be locked into a particular drum beat, or pattern or a particular key or beat that was the idea. Just guitars, guitars, guitars,” said Reed in a 2013 interview with The Quietus

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Janelle Borg

Janelle is a staff writer at GuitarWorld.com. After a long stint in classical music, Janelle discovered the joys of playing guitar in dingy venues at the age of 13 and has never looked back. Janelle has written extensively about the intersection of music and technology, and how this is shaping the future of the music industry. She also had the pleasure of interviewing Dream Wife, K.Flay, Yīn Yīn, and Black Honey, among others. When she's not writing, you'll find her creating layers of delicious audio lasagna with her art-rock/psych-punk band ĠENN.