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Reed first found prominence as the guitarist and principal singer-songwriter of The Velvet Underground. The band, which lasted from 1965 until 1973 (with Reed departing in late 1970 during the Loaded sessions), gained relatively little notice during its life but is often considered the seed from which most alternative traditions of rock music sprang. As the Velvetsâ songwriter, Reed wrote about such taboo subjects as S&M ("Venus in Furs"), transvestites ("Sister Ray"), transsexuals ("Lady Godiva's Operation"), prostitution ("There She Goes Again"), and drug use (âIâm Waiting for the Manâ, "White Light/White Heat", âHeroinâ). As a guitarist, he made innovative use of abrasive distortion, volume-driven feedback, and nonstandard tunings. Reed's flat, New York voice, stripped of superficial emotions and, like Bob Dylan's, flaunting its lack of conventional training, was no less important to the music's radical effect.