Lou Reed - 1972
Since this self-titled debut is yet to receive the full reissue treatment of his more well known LPs, it's not uncommon to believe that Lou Reed's solo discography begins with Transformer. Not so fast now. Although it continues to be one of Reed's least popular and lesser known albums, Lou Reed is a stripped-down mini masterpiece very much in the vein of John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band, and nearly as good. Many of the best songs here date back to his tenure in the Velvet Underground, though it would be years before that band's recordings of "I Can't Stand It," "Lisa Says," or "Ocean" would surface. Transformer contains all the hits and "Berlin" would resurface a year later as the title track to his critically lauded concept LP, but Lou Reed has an undeniable charm that keeps me dropping the needle to it more often than any of his other solo albums.