The Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground was a pioneering experimental rock band from New York City first active from 1965 to 1973. Its best-known lineup consisted of vocalist/guitarist Lou Reed, bassist/violist John Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison and drummer Maureen Tucker. The band also collaborated with Nico for their debut album in 1967, under the supervision of producer and pop artist Andy Warhol. Some see The Velvet Underground as being a bridge between the pacifist themes of the late 60s and the sheer chaos and indifference of the mid-70s punk movement. ...show more

The Velvet Underground was a pioneering experimental rock band from New York City first active from 1965 to 1973. Its best-known lineup consisted of vocalist/guitarist Lou Reed, bassist/violist John Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison and drummer Maureen Tucker. The band also collaborated with Nico for their debut album in 1967, under the supervision of producer and pop artist Andy Warhol. Some see The Velvet Underground as being a bridge between the pacifist themes of the late 60s and the sheer chaos and indifference of the mid-70s punk movement.

The Velvet Underground was one of the first rock music groups to experiment heavily with the form by incorporating avant-garde influences. The group's often raw, sometimes difficult sound would influence many later punk, noise rock, and alternative music performers, and singer Lou Reed's lyrics brought new levels of social realism and sleaze to rock. Critics Scott Isler and Ira Robbins argue that "The Velvet Underground marked a turning point in rock history. After the release of The Velvet Underground & Nico knowing the power of which it was capable, the music could never be as innocent, as unselfconscious as before." Pre-history (1964-1965) The foundations for what would become The Velvet Underground were laid in late 1964.

Lou Reed had performed with a few short-lived garage bands and had worked as a songwriter for Pickwick Records, a job Reed described as "a poor man's Carole King". Reed met John Cale, a Welshman who had moved to the United States to study classical music. Cale had worked with John Cage and La Monte Young, but was also interested in rock music. (Young's use of extended drones would be a profound influence on the early Velvet's sound). ...show less