Mambo No.5 popster Lou Bega, left, looks nothing like iconic Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed. Photo: Getty Images
The similarities begin and come to a crashing end with their first names, but somehow casual music fans have confused iconic Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed with pencil-moustached loose-hipped popster Lou Bega.
Bega, 38, best known for his fizzy latin pop hit Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit of . . .) in 1999 posted on his Facebook page: "R.I.P Lou Reed the Genius who took Walks on the Wild side. Ps: i have been receiving Tons of condolences because of a Journalist confusing our Identities. Lou Bega sends his condolences to mr.Reeds Family. [sic]"
Lou Reed's death from liver failure, aged 71, on Sunday US time was greeted with a worldwide outpouring of grief, respect, nostalgia and tribute in print, on television, in radio and via social media. His classic 1972 album Transformer soared in the iTunes charts in several countries, reaching No. 30 in the United States and No. 21 here. The Very Best of Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground & Nico also climbed back into the charts.
So journalistic cock-up or not, the world knew Lou Reed had taken his fiercely innovative musical stylings to the pearly gates – not Lou Bega, who is also well known for singing the theme song for animated Disney series Brandy & Mr Whiskers.
The communal web gaffe must be one of the best examples of the attention-deficit disorder people associate with the internet: despite Bega's clarification, people continued posting "R.I.P Lou Bega"-type messages – in the same thread.
Mike Guðmundsdóttir wrote: "Forever lou bega will Live into our hearts", while as late as this morning Ijul Konka posted: "RIP LOU BEGA i kissed a girl for the first time on your song . . ."
And you can't just blame language barriers, either: Norwegian Steffen Gulbrandsen summed up many observers' bemusement: "Lou Bega is not dead, you twats!"