Lou Reed was a pioneer for countless bands who didn't worry about their next hit single.
Reed, who died at age 71, radically challenged rock's founding promise of good times and public celebration. As leader of the Velvet Underground and as a solo artist, he was the father of indie rock, and an ancestor of punk, New Wave and the alternative rock movements of the 1970s, '80s and beyond. He influenced generations of musicians from David Bowie and R.E.M. to Talking Heads and Sonic Youth.
"The first Velvet Underground record sold 30,000 copies in the first five years," Brian Eno, who produced albums by Roxy Music and Talking Heads among others, once said. "I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band!"
The Velvets said everything other bands were forbidden to say and some things other bands never imagined. Reed wrote some of rock's most explicit lyrics about drugs ("Heroin," "Waiting for My Man"), sadomasochism ("Venus in Furs") and prostitution ("There She Goes Again").
Walt Bellamy, the Hall of Fame center who averaged 20.1 points and 13.7 rebounds in 14 seasons in the NBA, died Saturday. He was 74.
An Oregon highway engineer who blew up a dead beached whale with a half-ton of dynamite in 1970 has died at the age of 84.
George Thomas Thornton gained national attention over the exploding whale, and the act endured for decades thanks to a video that shows giant pieces of whale carcass splattering across the beach and spectators.
Thornton got the call Nov. 12, 1970 to remove a 45-foot-long sperm whale estimated to weigh 8 tons that had washed up near Florence, and had started to stink.
Thornton had refused to talk about the exploding whale for many years, once remarking that every time he did, "it blew up in my face."
A Google search turns up the YouTube video and a website, www.theexplodingwhale.com.
William C. Lowe had a bold idea: IBM should develop a personal computer that could be mass marketed, expanding the company's reach beyond businesses and into people's homes.
That was in 1980. One year later, the IBM 5150 personal computer was selling out at stores such as Sears and ComputerLand for $1,565, not including a monitor.
Lowe, who was credited with fostering collaboration within the computer industry and led the team that developed IBM's PC, died on Oct. 19 in Lake Forest of a heart attack, his daughter Michelle Marshall said. He was 72.
Lowe joined IBM in 1962, when he finished college with a physics degree.
He went on to serve as an IBM vice president and president of its entry systems division, which oversaw the development and manufacturing of IBM's personal computers and other businesses.
Marcia Wallace, who was the voice of scoffing schoolteacher Edna Krabappel on "The Simpsons" and played wisecracking receptionist Carol on "The Bob Newhart Show" in the 1970s, has died. She was 70.
Wallace's trademark "Ha!" punctuated Krabappel's frequent snide remarks, and her character was known for saying, "Do what I mean, not what I say."
Ulysses "Crazy Legs" Curtis, a two-time Grey Cup champion and the first black player for the Toronto Argonauts at running back, has died. He was 87.
Curtis played for the CFL team from 1950 to 1954 and was one of the most productive running backs in the club's 140-year history. He made nine playoff appearances, winning titles in '50 and '52.
Michael Palmer, 71, a physician and best-selling suspense author whose "Extreme Measures" was adapted into a 1996 film of the same name starring Hugh Grant and Gene Hackman, has died.
Palmer's 20th novel, "Resistant," is to be published in May.
Canadian tightrope walker Jay Cochrane, who set two world records including one in 1972 for walking back and forth 2.5 miles above the Canadian National Exhibition, has died, according to his website.
Cochrane died Wednesday in Niagara Falls, Ontario, at age 69 of pancreatic cancer, according to a tribute to Cochrane dubbed "The Prince of the Air."
Cochrane's greatest achievement was in 1995 when he walked more than 700.16 yards over the Yangtze River in China from a height of 125.3 meters. The event, before a crowd of 200,000 people, made Cochrane a legend in China. His likeness appeared on a Chinese stamp and a school was named in his honor.
Anca Petrescu, the chief architect of Bucharest's "Palace of the People," a massive government structure that has been described as a huge Stalinist wedding cake, has at 64 from a car accident.
Srdja Popovic, a prominent Serbian lawyer and advocate of human rights and democracy during both the communist era and the rule of late strongman Slobodan Milosevic, has died. He was 75.
Former Democratic Rep. Ike Skelton, who built a reputation as a military expert and social conservative during 34 years representing western and central Missouri in the U.S. House, died Monday in Virginia. He was 81.
Serbia's state television says its general manager, Aleksandar Tijanic, an influential journalist and a former information minister under late strongman Slobodan Milosevic, has died. He was 63.
For Tadeusz Mazowiecki, his transformation from a pro-democracy writer and an intellectual to a moving force in Poland began in 1980, when he joined ranks with the striking workers at the Gdansk shipyard who founded the Solidarity movement.
Nine years later, he became the nation's first post-communist prime minister.
In both cases, he played an important role in Eastern Europe's historic democratic transformation.
Mazowiecki died on Monday at a hospital in Warsaw, where he had been taken several days earlier with a high fever, his personal secretary, Michal Prochwicz said. He was 86.
Johnny Kucks, who pitched a three-hitter for the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the 1956 World Series, has died. He was 81.
Marcy Scott, the promotion and marketing director at Atlanta Motor Speedway who also worked with several drivers during a long career in NASCAR, died Friday after battling breast cancer. She was 42.
Arthur C. Danto, a provocative and influential philosopher and critic who championed Andy Warhol and other avant-garde artists and upended the study of art history by declaring that the history of art was over, has died. He was 89.
Danto, art critic for The Nation from 1984 to 2009 and a professor emeritus at Columbia University.
An academically trained philosopher, Danto became as central to debates about art in the 1960s and after as critic Clement Greenberg had been during the previous generation. Danto was initially troubled, then inspired by the rise of pop art and how artists such as Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein could transform a comic strip or a soup can into something displayed in a museum, a work of "art." Starting in the '60s, he wrote hundreds of essays that often returned to the most philosophical question: What exactly is art? Danto liked to begin with a signature event in his lifetime -- a 1964 show at New York's Stable Gallery that featured Warhol's now-iconic reproductions of Brillo boxes.
Hal Needham, a top Hollywood stuntman who turned to directing rousing action films including "Smokey and the Bandit" and "The Cannonball Run," has died. He was 82.
A former paratrooper, Needham appeared in thousands of TV episodes and hundreds of movies, performing and designing stunts and new equipment to execute them.
Needham jumped from planes, was dragged by horses and wrecked cars -- breaking 56 bones in the process.
His best-known directing efforts involved 1970s Burt Reynolds action comedies, including "Smokey," "Cannonball Run" and "Stroker Ace." He also directed Arnold Schwarzenegger in "The Villain."