Lou Reed has been rocking since the mid-'60s, when got his start as an in-house songwriter for the budget label Pickwick Records. In 1967, he and the Velvet Underground invented punk with their seminal debut, and after three more albums with that wildly influential band, he ventured off on his own, establishing himself as one of rock's true poets, visionaries and grumps.

Reed's solo records haven't all been brilliant, and he's had his share of missteps, but after nearly a half-century, fans still pay attention and forgive him his extreme crankiness. That goodwill is down to his inimitable singing and songwriting styles and indelible New York City cool. He's the Jack Nicholson of rock, and not even 'Lulu,' the iffy album he made with Metallica, could tarnish his legend. Forget Iron Man -- Lou's Teflon.