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By word: velvet - underground
Related: American music - New York music - Andy Warhol - art rock - punk (influence on)
Credited with establishing a genre known as 'anti-pop', the group's often raw sound would influence many later punk, noise rock, and alternative music performers, and singer Lou Reed's lyrics brought new levels of poetic sophistication.
While the American west coast was undergoing the Summer of Love, psychedelia and flower power, the typically east coast Velvets concerned themselves with darker subject matter: transvestites, heroin addiction, and sadomasochism. Also setting them apart from their contemporaries was their use of feedback and amplifier noise in a musical context, exemplified by the seventeen minute track "Sister Ray" from their second album. [Sept 2006]
Velvet Underground & Nico (1967) - Velvet Underground [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
When the Velvets recorded this debut, they were best known as the protégés of Andy Warhol (who designed the sleeve), and as a grating, combustive live band. Fueled by drummer Moe Tucker's no-nonsense wham and John Cale's howling viola, some of the straight-up rock & roll and arty noise extravaganzas here bear that out. But before Lou Reed was singing about sadomasochism and drug deals and writing lyrics inspired by his favorite poets, he was a pop songwriter, and this album has some of his prettiest tunes, mostly sung by Nico, the German dark angel who left the band after this disc. Even the sordid rockers are underscored by graceful pop tricks, like the two-chord flutter at the center of the classic "Heroin." --Douglas Wolk
The Velvet Underground (1963) Michael Leigh
The Velvet Underground (affectionately known as The Velvets, or V.U. for short) was an American rock and roll band of the late 1960s.
Although never commercially successful, The Velvet Underground remain one of the most influential bands of their time: a famous remark, often attributed to Brian Eno, is that while only a few thousand people bought a Velvet Underground record, almost every single one of them was inspired to start a band. This is certainly an overstatement, but it does demonstrate their massive influence and cult following that has outlasted the group's five-year existence.
The Velvet Underground were one of the first rock music groups to experiment with the form, and to incorporate avant garde influences. Credited with establishing a genre known as 'anti-pop', the group's often raw sound would influence many later punk, noise rock, and alternative music performers, and singer Lou Reed's lyrics brought new levels of poetic sophistication and social realism to rock. Bands heavily influenced by the Velvets include the Modern Lovers, Big Star, and Galaxie 500. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Velvet_Underground [Feb 2005]
Creem Magazine [...]
Creem Magazine introduced America to the Velvet Underground and the Stooges
Creem is a rock and roll magazine started in 1969 by Barry Kramer. It shut down production in 1988, but has resumed printing as of 2003. The music journalist Lester Bangs was employed by Creem. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creem [Feb 2005]
The Velvet Underground was a book about sadomasochism by Michael Leigh the group found left in the street. Morrison has reported the group liked the name, considering it evocative of "underground cinema," and fitting, due to Reed's already having written "Venus In Furs", inspired by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's book of the same name, also dealing with sadomasochism. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Velvet_Underground [Feb 2005]
Even though his subject matter seems tame by today’s standards, Reed openly addressed topics that were seamier than the age-of-Aquarius fare of that time: “Venus In Furs” (topside sadomasochist themes), “I’m Waiting On The Man” and “Heroin” (covering the obvious), and, later, “Sister Ray” took a look at transvestism and drug use (all topics viewed on a regular basis during prime time today). --http://www.rhino.com/spotlight/velvetunderground/velvetunderground_facts.lasso [Jul 2004]
Velvet Underground & Nico (1967) - Velvet UndergroundNico joined the V.U. on their debut album, The Velvet Underground and Nico. The album was recorded in one or two days — there is some disagreement in the band members' memories — and released by MGM Records in March of 1967.
The album cover was famous for its simple, suggestive Warhol design: a bright yellow banana with "Peel Slowly and See" printed near a perforated tab. Those who did remove the banana skin found a pink, phallic, peeled banana beneath.
Eleven songs showcased their stylistic range, veering from the pounding attacks of "I'm Waiting For The Man" and "Run Run Run," the droning "Venus In Furs" and "Heroin" to the quiet "Femme Fatale" and the tender "I'll Be Your Mirror".
The overall sound was propelled by Reed's strong deadpan vocals, Cale's droning or shrieking viola, Morrison's often R&B or country-influenced guitar, and Tucker's hypnotically simple but steady, propulssive beat. Tucker's drum kit was rather abreviated: She usually played on tom toms and an upturned bass drum, using mallets rather than drumsticks, and she rarely used cymbals.
The Velvet Underground and Nico peaked at number 171 on Billboard Magazine's top 200 charts, but the promising debut was muted somewhat by legal complications: The album's back cover featured a still from a Warhol motion picture, Chelsea Girls. The film's cinematographer had been arrested for drug possession, and, desperate for money, claimed the still had been included on the album without his permission. MGM Records pulled all copies of the album until the legal problems were settled. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Velvet_Underground [Feb 2005]
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