There’s a fascinating post over at Dangerous Minds about Lou Reed’s mysterious transsexual muse Rachel, who lived with him for years and allegedly inspired most of the songs on his Coney Island Baby album. Rock critic Lester Bangs once rather rudely described her in an article for Creem, saying: “Long dark hair, bearded, tits, grotesque, abject… like something that might have grovellingly scampered in when Lou opened the door to get milk or papers in the morning.” Lou Reed never forgave him for writing that. Others were kinder, describing her as elegant and beautiful, with long limbs and long hair.
From Dangerous Minds: “The most surprising thing about the life of Rachel, [though] is that we know so little of it. Here’s a woman who lived with one of rock’s biggest stars for three years and no one even knows when, where or how she died. I couldn’t even find out her full name.
“I think Rachel’s anonymity has more to do with Lou’s public image than Rachel wanting her privacy. Reed made a conscious decision to go ‘straight’ (the bi-sexual thing had served its purpose as a fashion statement) and Rachel didn’t figure into his public personae anymore. She disappeared as quickly as she had come into his life. The scene was fickle and she was no longer a part of it. Reed completely refused to talk about her after 1978.” Fascinating stuff.