The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground was an American rock band fashioned in New York Metropolis in 1964. The unique line-up consisted of singer/guitarist Lou Reed, multi-instrumentalist John Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison, and drummer Angus MacLise. MacLise was changed by Moe Tucker in 1965, who performed on many of the band’s recordings. Their integration of rock and the avant-garde achieved little industrial success throughout the group’s existence, however they’re now acknowledged as one of the influential bands in rock, underground, experimental, and different music.[5][6] The group’s provocative subject material, musical experiments, and sometimes nihilistic attitudes additionally proved influential within the growth of punk rock and new wave music.[5]

Initially, the group carried out underneath a lot of names earlier than selecting The Velvet Underground in 1965. Pop artist Andy Warhol turned their supervisor in 1966, they usually served as the home band at Warhol’s artwork collective often known as “the Manufacturing facility” and Warhol’s touring multimedia present, the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, from 1966 to 1967. Their debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico (with German singer and mannequin Nico), was launched in 1967 to essential indifference and poor gross sales however has since drawn extensive acclaim.[7][8] They launched three extra albums, White Gentle/White Warmth (1968), The Velvet Underground (1969), and Loaded (1970), with Doug Yuletide changing Cale for the ultimate two, and with none performing as much as the expectations of document labels or of Reed, the band’s chief.

The group functionally disbanded within the early Seventies as everybody besides Yuletide left the band. An abortive UK tour with Yuletide because the band chief and with new musicians adopted in 1973, and a ultimate album launched within the band’s title, Squeeze (1973), consisting largely of Yuletide with just a few session musicians, marked the top of the band for a while. The entire members continued to collaborate on one another’s solo work all through the Seventies and Eighties, and a retrospective “rarities” album, VU, was launched in 1985. A full reunion of the band got here within the early Nineties, with the Reed-Cale-Tucker-Morrison lineup taking part in a sequence of well-received reveals in 1993, and releasing a dwell album from the tour, Stay MCMXCIII.

After Morrison’s dying in 1995, the remaining three members performed collectively for a single efficiency at their Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame induction in 1996, the final time the band carried out collectively musically. In 2004, the Velvet Underground have been ranked quantity 19 on Rolling Stones checklist of the “100 Biggest Artists of All Time”.[9] The New York Instances wrote that the Velvet Underground was “arguably probably the most influential American rock band of our time”.[10]

Historical past

Pre-career and early levels (1964–1966)

The foundations for what would grow to be the Velvet Underground have been laid in late 1964. Singer-songwriter and guitarist Lou Reed had carried out with just a few short-lived storage bands and had labored as a songwriter for Pickwick Data (Reed described his tenure there as being “a poor man’s Carole King”).[11] Reed met John Cale, a Welshman who had moved to the USA to check classical music upon securing a Leonard Bernstein scholarship. Cale had labored with experimental composers John Cage, Cornelius Cardew and La Monte Younger, and had carried out with Younger’s Theatre of Everlasting Music, although was additionally inquisitive about rock music.[12] Younger’s use of prolonged drones could be a profound affect on the band’s early sound. Cale was pleasantly shocked to find that Reed’s experimentalist tendencies have been just like his personal: Reed generally used different guitar tunings to create a droning sound. The pair rehearsed and carried out collectively; their partnership and shared pursuits constructed the trail in direction of what would later grow to be the Velvet Underground.

Reed’s first group with Cale was the Primitives, a short-lived group assembled to difficulty budget-priced recordings and assist an anti-dance single written by Reed, “The Ostrich”, to which Cale added a viola passage. Reed and Cale recruited Sterling Morrison — a university classmate of Reed’s at Syracuse College — as a substitute for Walter De Maria, who had been a 3rd member of the Primitives.[13] Reed and Morrison each performed guitars, Cale performed viola, keyboards and bass and Angus MacLise joined on percussion to finish the preliminary four-member unit. This quartet was first known as the Warlocks, then the Falling Spikes.[14] The Velvet Underground by Michael Leigh was a up to date mass market paperback concerning the secret sexual subculture of the early Nineteen Sixties; Cale’s buddy and Dream Syndicate affiliate Tony Conrad confirmed it to the group, and MacLise made a suggestion to undertake the title because the band’s title.[15] In response to Reed and Morrison, the group appreciated the title, contemplating it evocative of “underground cinema”, and becoming, as Reed had already written “Venus in Furs”, a track impressed by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s e-book of the identical title, which handled masochism. The band instantly and unanimously adopted The Velvet Underground as its new title in November 1965.

The newly named Velvet Underground rehearsed and carried out in New York Metropolis. Their music was usually far more relaxed than it could later grow to be: Cale described this period as harking back to beat poetry, with MacLise taking part in mild “pitter and patter rhythms behind the drone”.[16]

In July 1965, Reed, Cale and Morrison recorded a demo tape at their Ludlow Avenue loft with out MacLise, as a result of he refused to be tied all the way down to a schedule and would flip as much as band follow periods solely when he needed.[17][18] When he briefly returned to Britain, Cale tried to present a replica of the tape to Marianne Faithfull,[19] hoping she would go it on to Mick Jagger, lead singer of The Rolling Stones. Nothing ever got here of this, however the demo was ultimately launched on the 1995 field set Peel Slowly and See.

Supervisor and music journalist Al Aronowitz organized for the group’s first paying gig—$75 ($616 in 2020 {dollars})[20] to play at Summit Excessive Faculty, in Summit, New Jersey, opening for the Myddle Class. Once they determined to take the gig, MacLise abruptly left the group, protesting what he thought of a sellout; he was additionally unwilling to be instructed when to start out and cease taking part in. “Angus was in it for artwork”, Morrison reported.[11]

MacLise was changed by Maureen “Moe” Tucker, the youthful sister of Morrison’s buddy Jim Tucker. Tucker’s taking part in type was slightly uncommon: she usually performed standing up slightly than seated and had an abbreviated drum setup of tom-toms, snare and an upturned bass drum, utilizing mallets as usually as drumsticks, and barely utilizing cymbals (she admits that she all the time hated cymbals).[21] When the band requested her to do one thing uncommon, she turned her bass drum on its facet and performed standing up. After her drums have been stolen from one membership, she changed them with rubbish cans introduced in from exterior. Her rhythms, without delay easy and unique (influenced by the likes of Babatunde Olatunji and Bo Diddley information), turned an important a part of the group’s music, regardless of Cale’s preliminary objections to the presence of a feminine drummer.[22] The group earned an everyday paying gig on the Café Weird and gained an early popularity as a promising ensemble.

Andy Warhol and the Exploding Plastic Inevitable (1966–1967)

In 1965, after being launched to the Velvet Underground by filmmaker Barbara Rubin,[23] Andy Warhol turned the band’s supervisor and prompt they use the German-born singer Nico (born Christa Päffgen) on a number of songs. Warhol’s popularity helped the band achieve the next profile. He helped the band safe a recording contract with MGM’s Verve Data, with himself as nominal “producer”, and gave the Velvets free rein over the sound they created.

Throughout their stick with Andy Warhol, the band turned a part of his multimedia roadshow, Exploding Plastic Inevitable, which mixed Warhol’s movies with the band’s music, which made use of minimalist units, comparable to drones. Warhol included the band together with his present in an effort to “use rock as part of a bigger, interdisciplinary-art work based mostly round efficiency” (McDonald).[full citation needed] They performed reveals for a number of months in New York Metropolis, then traveled all through the USA and Canada till its final installment in Could 1967.[24][failed verification] Throughout a brief interval in September 1966, when Cale was in poor health, the avant-garde musician Henry Flynt and Reed’s buddy Richard Mishkin[25] took turns to cowl for him.[26]

The present included 16 mm movie projections by Warhol, mixed with a stroboscopic-light present designed by Danny Williams. Due to the punishing lights, the band took to sporting sun shades onstage.[27] Early promo posters referred to the group because the “erupting plastic inevitable”. This quickly modified to “the exploding plastic inevitable”.

In 1966, MacLise briefly rejoined the Velvet Underground for just a few EPI reveals when Reed was affected by hepatitis and unable to carry out. For these appearances, Cale sang and performed organ, Tucker switched to bass guitar and MacLise was on drums. Additionally at these appearances, the band usually performed an prolonged jam they’d dubbed “Booker T”, after musician Booker T. Jones. A few of these performances have been launched as a bootleg; they continue to be the one document of MacLise with the Velvet Underground.

In response to Morrison, MacLise is claimed to have regretted leaving the Velvet Underground and needed to rejoin, however Reed particularly prohibited this and made it clear that this stint was solely momentary. MacLise nonetheless behaved eccentrically with time and commerce and glided by his personal clock: as an illustration, he confirmed up half an hour late to 1 present and carried on with a half-hour of drumming to compensate for his late arrival, lengthy after the set had completed.[17]

In December 1966, Warhol and David Dalton designed Difficulty 3 of the multimedia Aspen.[28] Included on this difficulty of the “journal”, which retailed at $4 ($32 in 2020 {dollars}[20]) per copy and was packaged in a hinged field designed to appear like Fab laundry detergent, have been varied leaflets and booklets, considered one of which was a commentary on rock and roll by Lou Reed, one other an EPI promotional newspaper. Additionally enclosed was a 2-sided flexi disk: facet one produced by Peter Walker, a musical affiliate of Timothy Leary; and facet two titled “Loop”, credited to the Velvet Underground however truly recorded by Cale alone. “Loop”, a recording solely of pulsating audio suggestions culminating in a locked groove, was “a precursor to [Reed’s] Metallic Machine Music“, say Velvets archivists M.C. Kostek and Phil Milstein within the e-book The Velvet Underground Companion.[29] “Loop” additionally predates a lot industrial music.

The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)

At Warhol’s insistence, Nico sang with the band on three songs of their debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico. The album was recorded primarily in Scepter Studios in New York Metropolis throughout April 1966, however for causes unclear, some songs have been rerecorded at TTG Studios in Los Angeles, together with the brand new track “Sunday Morning”, later within the 12 months with Tom Wilson producing. The album was launched by Verve Data the next 12 months in March 1967. The album cowl is known for its Warhol design: a yellow banana sticker with “Peel slowly and see” printed close to the tip. Those that did take away the banana pores and skin discovered a pink, peeled banana beneath.

Eleven songs showcased the Velvets’ dynamic vary, veering from the pounding assaults of “I am Ready for the Man” and “Run Run Run”, the droning “Venus in Furs” and “Heroin”, the chiming and celestial “Sunday Morning”, to the quiet “Femme Fatale” and the tender “I am going to Be Your Mirror”, in addition to Warhol’s personal favourite track of the group, “All Tomorrow’s Events”.[30] Kurt Loder would later describe “All Tomorrow’s Events” as a “mesmerizing gothic-rock masterpiece”.[30] Closing out the album was the avant-garde “The Black Angel’s Loss of life Tune”, adopted by the prolonged, feedback-laden “European Son”, which Reed devoted to his Syracuse professor Delmore Schwartz.

The general sound was propelled by Reed and Nico’s deadpan vocals, Cale’s droning viola, bass and keyboards, Reed’s experimental avant-garde guitar, Morrison’s usually R&B- or country-influenced guitar, and Tucker’s easy however regular and tribal-sounding beat with sparse use of cymbals. A method used on many songs was the “drone strum”, an eighth-note rhythm guitar type utilized by Reed.[31] Though Cale was the band’s regular bassist, if he switched to viola or keyboards, Morrison would usually play bass. Regardless of his proficiency on the instrument, Morrison hated taking part in bass.[32][33] Conversely, some songs had Reed and Morrison taking part in their regular guitars with Cale on viola or keyboards, however with no person taking part in bass.

The album was launched on March 12, 1967 (after a prolonged delay by Verve), and reached No. 171 on Billboard journal’s High 200 charts.[34] The industrial progress of the album was hampered by a authorized declare: because the album’s again cowl included a photograph of the group on stage with an unauthorised picture projected behind them of actor Eric Emerson from a Warhol movement image, Chelsea Women, Emerson made a declare of $500,000 ($3,880,739 in 2020 {dollars}[20]) to be used of his picture.[35] As a substitute of compensating Emerson for damages, MGM Data canceled all distribution of the album for almost two months till the authorized issues have been settled (by which period the document had misplaced its modest industrial momentum), and the nonetheless was airbrushed out of the remaining copies of the album.[35] By the point the document was re-distributed into shops, it confronted stiff competitors within the market. The album was re-distributed at almost the identical time as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Membership Band in June 1967, which additional hindered the discharge.[36] Relating to MGM/Verve’s delay in releasing the album, Warhol’s enterprise supervisor Paul Morrissey as soon as supplied the next: “Verve/MGM did not know what to do with The Velvet Underground and Nico as a result of it was so peculiar. They didn’t launch it for nearly a 12 months. Tom Wilson at Verve/MGM solely purchased the album from me due to Nico. He noticed no expertise in Lou [Reed].”[36] In 1982, Brian Eno mentioned that whereas the album bought solely 30,000 copies in its early years, “everybody who purchased a type of 30,000 copies began a band.”[37]

White Gentle/White Warmth and Cale’s departure (1968)

Nico moved on after the Velvets severed their relationship with Andy Warhol. Reed as soon as commented on their leaving Warhol: “He sat down and had a chat with me. ‘You gotta resolve what you wish to do. Do you wish to hold simply taking part in museums any further and the artwork festivals? Or do you wish to begin shifting into different areas? Lou, do not you assume you need to give it some thought?’ So I thought of it, and I fired him. As a result of I assumed that was one of many issues to do if we have been going to maneuver away from that…”[38] Steve Sesnick was quickly introduced in as a substitute supervisor, a lot to the chagrin of Cale, who believes that Sesnick tried to push Reed as band chief on the expense of band concord. Each Cale and Reed known as Sesnick a “snake” in numerous interviews after leaving the band.[39] In September 1967, the Velvet Underground started recording their second album, White Gentle/White Warmth, with Tom Wilson as producer.

The band carried out dwell usually, and their performances turned louder and harsher and sometimes included prolonged improvisations.

Warhol organized for the band to get an endorsement take care of Vox to allow them to make use of Vox gear, together with particular results pedals and an organ, totally free.[40][41] Sterling Morrison believed they have been the primary American band to get a Vox endorsement.[42]

Sterling Morrison supplied the next enter relating to the recording:

There was unbelievable leakage ‘trigger everybody was taking part in so loud and we had a lot digital junk with us within the studio—all these fuzzers and compressors. Gary Kellgren, who’s ultra-competent, instructed us repeatedly: “You possibly can’t do it—all of the needles are on crimson.” and we reacted as we all the time reacted: “Look, we do not know what goes on in there and we do not wish to hear about it. Simply do one of the best you’ll be able to.” And so the album is fuzzy, there’s all that white noise…we needed to do one thing digital and energetic. We had the vitality and the electronics, however we did not comprehend it could not be recorded…what we have been making an attempt to do was actually fry the tracks.[43]

Cale has mentioned that whereas the debut had some moments of fragility and sweetness, White Gentle/White Warmth was “consciously anti-beauty”.[44] The title monitor units a harsh opening; bassist Cale overdubbing a piano that has been described as “a cross between Jerry Lee Lewis and Henry Cowell”.[45] Together with brash songs like “Sister Ray” and “I Heard Her Name My Identify”, there was the darkly comedian “The Reward”, a brief story written by Reed and narrated by Cale in his deadpan Welsh accent. The meditative “Right here She Comes Now” was later lined by Galaxie 500, Cabaret Voltaire, and Nirvana, amongst others. The album was launched on January 30, 1968, coming into the Billboard High 200 chart for 2 weeks, at quantity 199.

Tensions have been rising: the group was bored with receiving little recognition for its work, and Reed and Cale have been pulling the Velvet Underground in numerous instructions. The variations confirmed within the final recording periods the band had with John Cale in 1968: three pop-like songs in Reed’s course (“Temptation Inside Your Coronary heart”, “Stephanie Says” and “Starting to See the Gentle”) and a viola-driven drone in Cale’s course (“Hey Mr. Rain”). Additional, some songs the band had carried out with Cale in live performance, or that he had co-written, weren’t recorded till after he had left the group (comparable to “Stroll It and Discuss It”, “Journey into the Solar”, and “Countess from Hong Kong”).

Reed known as Morrison and Tucker to a gathering on the Riviera Cafe within the West Village with out Cale’s data, and knowledgeable them that Cale was out of the band; when Morrison objected, Reed mentioned it was both Cale was sacked or the Velvets have been dissolved.[46] Neither Morrison nor Tucker was proud of the thought, however confronted with a selection of both no Cale or no band in any respect, the pair reluctantly sided with Reed.[5][47]

It has usually been reported that earlier than Cale’s departure (following White Gentle/White Warmth) there was a battle between his artistic impulses and Reed’s: Cale’s experimentalist tendencies had contrasted with Reed’s extra standard method. In response to Tim Mitchell, nonetheless, Morrison reported that whereas there was artistic rigidity between Reed and Cale, its results have been exaggerated through the years.[48] Cale performed his final present with the band on the Boston Tea Social gathering in September 1968 and was fired shortly afterwards.

In response to Michael Carlucci, a buddy of Robert Quine, “Lou instructed Quine that the explanation why he needed to do away with Cale within the band was Cale’s concepts have been simply too on the market. Cale had some wacky concepts. He needed to document the following album with the amplifiers underwater, and [Lou] simply could not have it. He was making an attempt to make the band extra accessible.” In the end, Morrison was dispatched by Reed to inform Cale that he was out of the band.[49]

Doug Yuletide joins and The Velvet Underground (1969)

Earlier than work on their third album began, Cale was changed by musician Doug Yuletide of the Boston group the Grass Menagerie, who had been a detailed affiliate of the band.[50] Yuletide, a local New Yorker, had moved to Boston to attend Boston College as a theater main, however left this system after one 12 months to proceed taking part in music.[51] Yuletide had first seen the Velvets carry out at a pupil occasion at Harvard College in Cambridge in early 1968,[52] and when the band performed on the Boston Tea Social gathering later that 12 months, the band stayed at Yuletide’s condominium on River Avenue, which he occurred to be renting from their street supervisor, Hans Onsager (who labored carefully with their supervisor Steve Sesnick). It was throughout this era that Morrison heard Yuletide taking part in guitar in his condominium, and talked about to Reed that Yuletide was training guitar and was enhancing rapidly.[53] It was following this dialogue that led to a telephone name from Steve Sesnick inviting Yuletide to fulfill with the band at Max’s Kansas Metropolis in New York Metropolis in October 1968 to debate becoming a member of the Velvets earlier than two upcoming reveals in Cleveland, Ohio, on the membership La Cave.[54][55] Upon assembly Reed, Sesnick and Morrison at Max’s, Yuletide was requested to deal with bass and organ duties within the band, and he would quickly contribute vocals as effectively. After a number of months of reveals within the US, the band swiftly recorded their third album The Velvet Underground in late 1968 at TTG Studios in Hollywood, California. It was launched in March 1969. The duvet {photograph} was taken by Billy Identify. The LP sleeve was designed by Dick Smith, then a workers artist at MGM/Verve. Launched on March 12, 1969, the album didn’t make Billboard’s High 200 album chart.

The cruel, abrasive tendencies on the primary two information have been virtually completely absent on their third album. This resulted in a gentler sound influenced by folks music, prescient of the songwriting type that will quickly kind Reed’s solo profession. Whereas Reed had lined an unlimited vary of lyrical topics on the primary two Velvet Underground albums, the lyrical themes of the third album have been extra “intimate” in nature. Reed’s songwriting additionally lined new emotional floor as effectively, as heard within the songs “Pale Blue Eyes”, “Jesus”, “Starting to See the Gentle”, and “I am Set Free”. The non-public tone of the album’s subject material resulted in Reed’s need to create a “closet” combine that boosted the vocals to the forefront, whereas decreasing the album’s instrumentation. The second (and extra extensively distributed) combine is the stereo combine performed by MGM/Verve workers recording engineer Val Valentin. One other issue within the change of sound was the band’s Vox amplifiers and various fuzzboxes have been rumored to have been stolen from an airport whereas they have been on tour they usually obtained replacements by signing a brand new endorsement take care of Sunn. As well as, Reed and Morrison had bought matching Fender 12-string electrical guitars, however Doug Yuletide performs down the affect of the brand new gear.

Morrison’s ringing guitar elements and Yuletide’s melodic bass guitar and concord vocals are used prominently on the album.[according to whom?] Reed’s songs and singing are subdued and confessional in nature,[according to whom?] and he shared lead vocals with Yuletide, significantly when his personal voice would fail underneath stress.[56] Doug Yuletide sang the lead vocal on “Sweet Says” (concerning the Warhol famous person Sweet Darling), which opens the LP, and a uncommon Moe Tucker lead vocal is used on “After Hours”, which closes the album, as a result of Reed felt her “harmless” voice was extra plausible for a tragic track.[57] The album has the experimental monitor “The Homicide Thriller”, which utilised all 4 band members (Reed, Yuletide, Tucker and Morrison) studying totally different lyrics, generally concurrently, in addition to the ballad “Pale Blue Eyes”.

12 months on the street and the “misplaced” fourth album (1969)

The Velvet Underground spent a lot of 1969 on the street each within the US and Canada, and never making a lot headway commercially. Regardless of these industrial setbacks, the band targeted on performing dwell reveals on the street, taking part in each re-worked songs from their previous albums, and debuting new songs that will discover their means onto the Loaded album, comparable to “New Age”, “Rock and Roll”, and “Candy Jane”. Whereas the band continued to do prolonged improvisations of their dwell reveals, by 1969 they have been specializing in tight dwell performances,[citation needed] and a number of other of the dwell reveals the band performed throughout this era would find yourself launched as dwell albums a few years later. The dwell album 1969: The Velvet Underground Stay (with Reed, Yuletide, Morrison & Tucker) was recorded in October 1969 however not launched till 1974, on Mercury Data, on the urging of rock critic Paul Nelson, who labored in A&R for Mercury on the time. Nelson requested singer-songwriter Elliott Murphy to jot down liner notes for the double album. In his notes, Murphy described a scene 100 years sooner or later, with a pupil taking a category on “classical rock’n’roll” and listening to the Velvet Underground. He puzzled what the scholar would make of the music and concluded, “I want it was 100 years from at the moment (I can not stand the suspense)”.[58][59]

Throughout this era the band performed a sequence of reveals in November 1969 on the Matrix and the Household Canine venues in San Francisco; recordings of those reveals have been launched in 2001, as a triple dwell album, Bootleg Collection Quantity 1: The Quine Tapes, which included the road up of Reed, Yuletide, Morrison and Tucker. Throughout 1969 the band recorded on and off within the studio, creating lots of promising materials (each singles and one-offs) that have been by no means formally launched on the time because of disputes with their document label. What many take into account to be the prime songs of those recording periods have been launched years later, in 1985, in a compilation album known as VU. The album VU marks the transitional sound between the whisper-soft third album and the band’s motion to the later pop rock song-style of their ultimate document, Loaded.[according to whom?] Two of the songs the Velvets recorded throughout this era have been later used on movie soundtracks: “Stephanie Says” was used within the 2001 movie The Royal Tenenbaums; “I am Sticking With You” has a uncommon Moe Tucker–Lou Reed dual-lead vocal monitor, with Doug Yuletide accompanying on piano, and was included within the movie Juno.

The remainder of the recordings, in addition to some different takes and instrumental tracks have been later bundled on One other View which was launched in 1986. After Reed’s departure, he later reworked a lot of these songs for his solo information through the years: “Stephanie Says”, “Ocean”, “I Cannot Stand It”, “Lisa Says”, and “Andy’s Chest”, in addition to “She’s My Greatest Pal”, which had been initially sung by Doug Yuletide.

By 1969 the MGM and Verve document labels had been dropping cash for a number of years. A brand new president, Mike Curb, was employed and he determined to cancel the recording contracts of 18 of their acts who supposedly glorified medication of their lyrics, together with their many controversial and unprofitable acts. The drug or hippie-related bands have been launched from MGM; nonetheless MGM insisted on retaining possession of all grasp tapes of their recordings and in response to an MGM consultant in a Rolling Stone article from 1970, “it wasn’t eighteen teams, [Curb] was misquoted. The cuts have been made partly to do with the drug scene—like perhaps a 3rd of them needed to do with drug causes. The others have been dropped as a result of they weren’t promoting.” Lou Reed would later comment within the 1987 difficulty of Creem that whereas he didn’t imagine that MGM dropped the Velvets for drug associations, he did acknowledge, “We needed to get out of there.”[49]

Loaded, Tucker’s being pregnant and Max’s residency (1970)

Cotillion Data (a subsidiary of Atlantic Data that specialised in blues and Southern soul) signed the Velvet Underground for what could be its ultimate studio album with Lou Reed: Loaded. The album’s title refers to Atlantic’s request that the band produce an album “loaded with hits”. Although the document was not the smash hit the corporate had anticipated, it accommodates probably the most accessible pop the Velvet Underground had carried out,[according to whom?] and two of Reed’s best-known songs,[according to whom?] “Candy Jane” and “Rock and Roll”.

By the recording of Loaded, Doug Yuletide performed a extra outstanding function within the band, and with Reed’s encouragement, sang the lead vocal on 4 songs: “Who Loves the Solar”, which opened the album, “New Age”, “Lonesome Cowboy Invoice” and the ultimate monitor, “Oh! Candy Nuthin”. Yuletide as soon as commented on the recording of Loaded: “Lou leaned on me lots by way of musical assist and for harmonies, vocal preparations. I did lots on Loaded. It kind of devolved all the way down to the Lou and Doug leisure recording.”[60]

Whereas the third Velvets’ LP was recorded largely dwell in a collaborative environment, the majority of Loaded was crafted within the studio. Along with dealing with all of the bass and piano duties on Loaded, Yuletide additionally contributed a number of lead guitar elements and performed drums on 5 of the album’s ten tracks (most notably on the songs “Rock and Roll” and “Candy Jane”)[61] since Moe Tucker (who was erroneously credited because the album’s drummer, regardless of not taking part in on it) was absent on maternity go away to have her first youngster, a daughter named Kerry. Different drum elements have been carried out by engineer Adrian Barber, session musician Tommy Castanaro, and Billy Yuletide (Doug Yuletide’s youthful brother), who was nonetheless in highschool on the time.[62] In the course of the periods, Sterling Morrison resumed his undergraduate research on the Metropolis School of New York. Though he contributed guitar tracks to the album, he started to separate his time between lessons, the periods and the gigs at Max’s, thus leaving Reed and Yuletide to deal with the majority of the preparations.[63]

It was throughout the Loaded recording periods that the Velvets (with Billy Yuletide deputizing on drums) secured a now-legendary nine-week residency (from June 24 – August 28, 1970) on the New York nightclub Max’s Kansas Metropolis, taking part in two prolonged units per night time, and showcasing altered preparations of older songs from their earlier albums, in addition to showcasing the brand new materials that will quickly make up Loaded. Reed’s final dwell efficiency with the band at Max’s was informally recorded and was launched two years later in 1972 as Stay at Max’s Kansas Metropolis, additionally on Atlantic Data.

Reed’s departure and launch of Loaded (1970)

Disillusioned with the dearth of progress the band was making, and dealing with strain by supervisor Steve Sesnick, Reed determined to give up the band over the last week of the Max’s Kansas Metropolis reveals in August 1970. Though Reed had knowledgeable Tucker, who was attending the present however not taking part in with the band due to her being pregnant, that he deliberate to go away the group on his final night, he didn’t inform Morrison or Yuletide. In a 2006 interview, Yuletide mentioned Sesnick waited till one hour earlier than the band was scheduled to take the stage the next night time earlier than notifying him that Reed was not coming. “I used to be anticipating [Lou] to indicate up, I assumed he was late.” Yuletide blamed Sesnick for Reed’s departure. “Sesnick had engineered Lou’s leaving the group. He and Lou had a relationship the place Lou had relied on him for ethical assist, and he trusted him, and Sesnick principally mentioned ‘screw you.’ … It should have been arduous for Lou to listen to that as a result of he relied on him, so he give up.”[64] Whereas Loaded was finalized and combined, it had but to be mastered and was not set to be launched by Atlantic till November of that 12 months. Reed usually mentioned he was fully shocked when he noticed Loaded in shops. He additionally mentioned, “I left them to their album stuffed with hits that I made”.

Reed was perturbed a few verse being edited from the Loaded model of “Candy Jane”.[65] “New Age” was modified as effectively: as initially recorded, its closing line (“It is the start of a brand new age” as sung by Yuletide) was repeated many extra instances.[citation needed] A quick interlude in “Rock and Roll” was additionally eliminated. (For the 1995 field set Peel Slowly and See, the album was introduced as Reed supposed;[citation needed] the “Absolutely Loaded” two-disc version consists of the complete variations of “Candy Jane” and “New Age”.) However, Yuletide has identified that the album was for all intents and functions completed when Reed left the band and that Reed had been conscious of most, if not all, of the edits.[66]

Stay at Max’s, Squeeze & Closing VU reveals (1970–1973)

With supervisor Steve Sesnick seeking to fill bookings (following the departure of Lou Reed), and with the pending launch of Loaded in November 1970, the band, now with Sterling Morrison on guitar, Moe Tucker on drums, Walter Powers on bass, and Doug Yuletide taking up lead vocals and guitar, performed periodic reveals to advertise the album from November 1970 to August 1971, taking part in reveals across the U.S.[67] By this juncture, Sterling Morrison had acquired his diploma from the Metropolis School of New York. Following a present in Houston, Texas, he left the group in August 1971 to pursue a Ph.D. in medieval literature on the College of Texas at Austin. He had packed an empty suitcase and when the time got here for the band to return to New York Metropolis, he instructed them on the airport that he was staying in Texas and quitting the band—the final founding member to give up.[68] Morrison’s substitute was singer/keyboard participant Willie Alexander. This temporary line-up of the band performed a number of reveals within the US and Canada in September 1971, and in October & November 1971 the band did a number of reveals in England, Wales, and the Netherlands to assist the 1971 European launch of Loaded, a few of that are collected on the 2001 field set Closing V.U.[69] After the temporary European tour in November 1971 was completed, the lineup of Yuletide, Tucker, Alexander and Powers disbanded.[69]

In Could 1972, Atlantic launched Stay at Max’s Kansas Metropolis, the recording of the Velvet Underground’s ultimate efficiency with Reed (additionally with Doug Yuletide, Morrison, and Billy Yuletide) made by a fan, Brigid Polk, on August 23, 1970. Because of publicity across the launch, and rising curiosity within the Velvet Underground in Europe, Sesnick was capable of safe a single album take care of Polydor within the UK, and a handful of promotional reveals have been booked within the UK in November and December 1972. After Sesnick reached out to Yuletide, a brand new Velvet Underground lineup was rapidly assembled by Yuletide to do the UK reveals. This temporary lineup of the Velvet Underground consisted of Yuletide, guitarist Rob Norris (later of The Bongos), bassist George Kay (Krzyzewski), and drummer Mark Nauseef. After Sesnick failed to indicate up in London to fulfill the band with the required gear and tour funds,[70] they performed the handful of dates to safe sufficient cash for flights again to the US, and Yuletide left the band when the temporary tour resulted in December 1972. It was throughout this temporary interval within the UK that Yuletide recorded the Polydor album (finally titled Squeeze) underneath the Velvet Underground title nearly by himself, with solely the help of Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice and some different session musicians in an unspecified London studio. Whereas Yuletide supposed to recruit Moe Tucker to play drums on Squeeze and the handful of promotional reveals, Sesnick vetoed his determination and claimed she was “too costly” to rent.[71] Yuletide was additionally prevented by Sesnick to take part within the mixing of the album’s tracks previous to the album’s launch the next 12 months.[72]

Squeeze was launched in February the next 12 months, 1973, in Europe solely, with minimal promotion by the label, and was held in low regard by followers and critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine notes that the album acquired “uniformly horrible opinions” upon preliminary launch,[73] and within the early Seventies, the NME Guide of Rock counted it as “a Velvet Underground album in title solely”.[74] When requested about Squeeze, Yuletide hinted that band supervisor Steve Sesnick orchestrated the album purely as a cash ploy. “Sesnick dumped the second iteration of the band in England with no cash and no gear and simply left us there to search out our means again. He gave me six copies of Squeeze as pay. I by no means bought any cash. While you signal with ASCAP or BMI you get an advance. He not solely made an association with them however truly signed as me and took the cash.”[75]

Regardless of the unfavourable opinions of the album upon its preliminary launch, in recent times the album has been revisited by each critics and musicians with extra sympathetic and favorable opinions. In 2011 music author Steven Shehori included Squeeze in his “Criminally Neglected Albums” sequence for The Huffington Submit, and in a prolonged evaluate of the album, supplied the next constructive evaluation of Squeeze: “for those who pluck it from the shackles of its murky back-story, Squeeze is nothing wanting a quintessential listening expertise.”[76] The UK band Squeeze took their title from its title in response to band member Chris Difford, who supplied the next opinion of the album in a 2012 interview: “It is an odd document, however the title got here from that, undoubtedly. … In a retrospective means I actually take pleasure in it. It has type of a naivety about it.”[77]

Though Yuletide had put an finish to the Velvet Underground in late 1972, a band with him, Billy Yuletide, George Kay and guitarist Don Silverman (later often known as Noor Khan) was incorrectly billed because the Velvet Underground for 2 reveals in Boston and Lengthy Island. The band members objected to the billing (instigated by their tour supervisor); in response to Yuletide, the promoter was not speculated to invoice the band because the Velvet Underground.[69] In late Could 1973, the band and the tour supervisor parted methods, thus bringing the Velvet Underground to an finish till the traditional line-up of Reed, Tucker, Morrison and Cale would reunite within the Nineties.

Submit-VU developments (1972–1990)

Reed, Cale and Nico teamed up at the start of 1972 to play a live performance in Paris on the Bataclan membership. This live performance was bootlegged, and eventually acquired an official launch as Le Bataclan ’72 in 2003. Earlier than that, Cale and Nico had developed solo careers. Nico had additionally begun a solo profession with Cale producing a majority of her albums. Reed began his solo profession in 1972 after a quick sabbatical. Sterling Morrison was a professor for a while, educating Medieval Literature on the College of Texas at Austin, then turned a tugboat captain in Houston for a number of years. Moe Tucker raised a household earlier than returning to small-scale gigging and recording within the Eighties; Morrison was in a number of touring bands, together with Tucker’s band.

Yuletide subsequently toured with Lou Reed and performed on the latter’s Sally Cannot Dance album, and Yuletide (at Reed’s request) additionally contributed guitar and bass tracks to Reed’s album Coney Island Child, which may be heard within the Bonus Version of the album (launched in 2002). Yuletide turned a member of American Flyer, then dropped out of the music trade altogether earlier than reappearing within the early 2000s.

In 1985 Polydor launched the album VU, which collected unreleased recordings which may have constituted the band’s fourth album for MGM in 1969 however had by no means been launched. Among the songs had been recorded when Cale was nonetheless within the band. Extra unreleased recordings of the band, a few of them demos and unfinished tracks, have been launched in 1986 as One other View.

On July 18, 1988, Nico died of a cerebral haemorrhage following a bicycle accident.

Czech dissident playwright Václav Havel was a fan of the Velvet Underground, finally changing into a buddy of Lou Reed. Although some attribute the title of the 1989 “Velvet Revolution”, which ended greater than 40 years of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia, to the band, Reed identified that the title Velvet Revolution derives from its peaceable nature—that nobody was “truly harm” throughout these occasions.[78] Reed has additionally given no less than one radio interview the place he said that it was known as the Velvet Revolution as a result of all the dissidents have been listening to the Velvet Underground main as much as the overthrow, and this music was an inspiration for the occasions that adopted. After Havel’s election as president, first of Czechoslovakia after which the Czech Republic, Reed visited him in Prague.[79] On September 16, 1998, at Havel’s request, Reed carried out within the White Home at a state dinner in Havel’s honor hosted by President Invoice Clinton.[80]

Reunions and dying of Morrison (1990–1996)

The Velvet Underground reformed in 1993. From left to proper: Morrison (at again), Tucker, Cale and Reed.

In 1990, Reed and Cale launched Songs for Drella, a track cycle about Andy Warhol, who had died in 1987. Although Morrison and Tucker had every labored with Reed and Cale because the Velvet Underground had damaged up, Songs for Drella was the primary time the pair had labored collectively in many years, and hypothesis a few reunion started to kind, fueled by the one-off look by Reed, Cale, Morrison and Tucker to play “Heroin” because the encore to a quick Songs for Drella set in Jouy-en-Josas, France. Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison additionally joined John Cale for an encore at his present at New York College on December 5, 1992.

The Reed–Cale–Morrison–Tucker lineup formally reunited with out Yuletide (whose inclusion had been championed by Morrison) in 1992,[13] commencing actions with a European tour starting in Edinburgh on June 1, 1993, and together with a efficiency at Glastonbury which appeared on an NME entrance cowl. Cale sang many of the songs Nico had initially carried out. In addition to headlining (with Luna because the opening act), the Velvets carried out as supporting act for 5 dates of U2’s Zoo TV Tour. With the success of the Velvet Underground’s European reunion tour, a sequence of US tour dates have been proposed, as was an MTV Unplugged broadcast, and presumably even some new studio recordings. Earlier than any of this might come to fruition, Cale and Reed fell out once more, breaking apart the band as soon as extra.[13]

On August 30, 1995, Sterling Morrison died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma after returning to his hometown of Poughkeepsie, New York, at age 53.[13] When the traditional lineup of the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame in 1996, Reed, Tucker, and Cale reformed the Velvet Underground for the final time.[13] Doug Yuletide was not inducted and didn’t attend. On the ceremony, the band was inducted by Patti Smith, and the trio carried out “Final Evening I Stated Goodbye to My Pal”, written in tribute to Morrison.

NYPL reunion, dying of Reed and Grammys live performance (2009–2017)

In December 2009, to commemorate the forty fifth anniversary of the band’s formation, Reed, Tucker and Yuletide (with Cale not current) gave a uncommon interview on the New York Public Library.[81]

The Velvet Underground continues to exist as a New York–based mostly partnership managing the monetary and again catalog facets for the band members. In January 2012, the surviving members of the band initiated authorized motion towards the Andy Warhol Basis for the Visible Arts over unauthorised use of the debut album’s banana design.[82][83] Forty-fifth anniversary field units of the band’s first 4 studio albums, together with considerably expanded bonus materials, appeared from 2012 to 2015; the dwell field set The Full Matrix Tapes, comprising remixed and remastered variations of a sequence of professionally recorded 1969 performances, additionally appeared in 2015.

On October 27, 2013, Lou Reed died at his dwelling in Southampton, New York, aged 71. He had undergone a liver transplant earlier within the 12 months.[84] John Cale responded to Reed’s passing by saying, “The world has misplaced a wonderful songwriter and poet…I’ve misplaced my ‘school-yard buddy'”.[85]

In 2017, John Cale and Maureen Tucker reunited to carry out “I am Ready for the Man” on the Grammy Salute to Music Legends live performance.[86]


The Velvet Underground is considered one of the influential bands in rock historical past. In 1996 they have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame.[87] Critic Robert Christgau considers them “the quantity three band of the ’60s, after The Beatles and James Brown and His Well-known Flames”.[88] AllMusic wrote that “Few rock teams can declare to have damaged a lot new territory, and keep such constant brilliance on document, because the Velvet Underground throughout their temporary lifespan […] the Velvets’ improvements – which blended the vitality of rock with the sonic adventurism of the avant-garde, and launched a brand new diploma of social realism and sexual kinkiness into rock lyrics – have been too abrasive for the mainstream to deal with.”[5] Their first 4 albums have been included in Rolling Stone’s checklist of The five hundred Biggest Albums of All Time.[89] They have been ranked the nineteenth best artist by the identical journal[90] and the twenty fourth best artist in a ballot by VH1.

Band members



  • The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
  • White Gentle/White Warmth (1968)
  • The Velvet Underground (1969)
  • Loaded (1970)
  • Squeeze (1973)

See additionally

  • The Boston Tea Social gathering (live performance venue)

  • The Velvet Underground at Curlie
  • The Velvet Underground Internet Web page
  • “Cale on Warhol”, Cale performing “Fashion It Takes”, from John Cale’s look on Studio 360, June 2, 2006
  • “Loop” from Difficulty 3 of Aspen journal, December 1966

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