I know this won't be popular to say--but sometimes I think VU is the most important band of the 60s. Lou writes "Waiting for my Man" and "Heroin" and the next thing you know the Stones respond with Beggars Banquet. Paul's character songs like "Drive my Car" or "Lovely Rita" seem lightweight compared to "Lisa Says" or "Candy Says". "Pale Blue Eyes" is as pure and confessional as anything Lennon did, during or after the Beatles. "Sister Ray" is psychotic in a way that "Helter Skelter" seems contrived by comparison.
Nothing against the Beatles, they're great. But even more than Dylan (who tended to baroque overwriting), Lou Reed defined the rock lyric of the 60s. "Heroin" seems real in a way that Dylan's dope poetry seems willfully obfuscating.
Too bad Lou became too selfconsciously "the poet" in the 70s with a bunch of overproduced junk. But from 66-69, he was the king. Some of his late 80s and 90s stuff is okay. But never achieves the level of spontaneity and vision of his VU stuff.