The Velvet Underground

By Zeke Spira 

The Velvet Underground and Nico in '67
The Velvet Underground and Nico in '67

The Velvet Underground was a Rock Band formed by Lou Reed and John Cale, in New York City, in 1964. The Velvet Underground is thought by many critics to be one of the most influenticial bands of the 1960's, up there with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. The Velvet Underground never got popular in the mainstream, but still to this day they control the underground of Rock N' Roll and will go down in history as one of the greatest bands of all time.


The Band consisted of in the beginning Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen Tucker. Throughout the years many artists joined and left the band but, these members were constantly there.


VU originally got there start in 64' but, they were music outcasts due to their different and grungy sound. Cale and Reed both brought very different styles of music into play, like Reed's "Ostrich" guitar which he coined the phrase for, and Cale's experimental music style. In '66 the band finally caught a big break, Andy Warhol noticed them and brought them in "The Factory" which was his warehouse where Warhol would make art and listen to bands which he managed. Warhol made VU the sound track of one of his motion picture projects "The Exploding Plastic Inevitable". Still VU did not have any commercial success. There first album was released under Warhol's record company and it was called "The Velvet Underground and Nico". Its songs varied from Rock n Roll sounding music like "I'm Waiting For My Man" to experimental sounding songs like "Venus In Furs".
After their debut album VU did not have any commercial success. They came out with 3 more albums between '67 and '72 but, none of them were nearly as influential as their debut album. After '72 they broke and Cale and Reed went on to have very fruitful solo careers but, the rest of the bands did not.
external image The+Velvet+Underground.jpg


The Velvet Underground's influence was also their meaning for playing. Most people in this time period thought that the 60's were about peace and love, but the VU showed that it was also about hardships and expressed their philosophical views on Nihilism. Another reason why they played was just to express themselves and this was the only way they knew how. VU's influence spread far and wide from Pavement to Deathcab for Cutie. VU's music style was revolutinary and paved the way for numerous musical stars. a quote from Brian Eno really illustrates this "Not many people bought "The Velvet Underground and Nico", but those who did started a band".


"The Velvet Underground." N.p., Feb.-Mar. 2009. Web. 21 May 2011.

"Lou Reed." N.p., 2009. Web. 21 May 2011.