23 July 2010

Rock n Roll Oldies: The Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground was an American rock band formed in New York City, initially active from 1965 to 1973.  The best-known members were Lou Reed and John Cale, who both went on to find success as solo artists- the legendary Andy Warhol also manged them for three years. Although never commercially successful, the band is often cited by many critics as one of the most important and influential groups of the 60s- trailblazers well-ahead of their time.

The Velvet Underground first gained a degree of fame and in 1966 Manhattan when they were selected as the house band for Andy Warhol's Factory and other events. The lyrics challenged conventional societal standards of the time, and broke ground for other musicians to do the same. They favored experimentation, and also introduced a nihilistic outlook through some of their music. Their outsider attitude and experimentation has since been cited as pivotal to the rise of punk, new wave, and alternative rock.
The 1967 debut album, titled The Velvet Underground & Nico (German singer Nico collaborated with the band) was named the 13th Greatest Album of All Time, and "most prophetic rock album ever made" by Rolling Stone in 2003.
It was at band manager Andy Warhol's insistence that Nico sang with the band on three songs of their debut album, recorded primarily in Scepter Studios in New York City during April 1966, and released in March 1967. And the album cover is also famous for its Warhol design: a yellow banana with “Peel slowly and see” printed near a perforated tab. Those who did remove the banana skin found a pink, peeled banana beneath...


Previous Rock n Roll Oldies features -here-