The Velvet Underground Brief Biography

The Velvet Underground have been called the most influential group of all-time, but, though that may be over the top, their influence certainly stretched far and wide.

Emerging in that '60s whirlpool of creativity, the Velvets were never going to win the charm offensive like The Beatles and The Beach Boys. Their 1967 The Velvet Underground & Nico debut album was truly groundbreaking, and featured subject matter that few artists would dare touch. These included 'Heroin' and 'Venus in Furs', which detailed the dubious delights of sado-masochism. The music was a mix of raw, experimental and mellow, and lacked the pristine corporation glow of the chart music of the time.

The legend of Lou Reed really began with The Velvet Underground, but his songwriting, singing and unique guitar style didn't begin to become widely known until David Bowie began singing the group's praises. Bowie later co-produced Reed's acclaimed 'Transformer' album with Mick Ronson, and he also covered the Velvets 'White Light/White Heat'.

Managed by Pop Art icon Andy Warhol, having a female drummer, Moe Tucker, The Velvet Underground were unconventional with a capital 'U'. The Velvet Underground line-up included, in addition, John Cale (bass/piano/organ/viola/backing vocals), Sterling Morrison (guitar/bass/vocals) and Doug Yule (bass/keyboards/vocals/guitar/drums). Yule replaced Cale after the Welshman's departure in 1968. Moe Tucker also sang lead vocals and occasionally played bass, while German singer-songwriter Nico appeared on only the Velvets debut album. First drummer Angus MacLise left the Velvets in 1965, after accusing them of selling out for accepting money for a gig.

Lou Reed quit The Velvet Underground in 1970, but the group continued, with Doug Yule taking over as the group's frontman, and with Moe Tucker still on drums, and Walter Powers added on bass. Sterling Morrison left the Velvets in 1971 and was replaced by keyboardist and vocalist Willie Alexander. After a complete overhaul of the group, the Velvets final album, 'Squeeze', was released in 1973.

- Paul Rance/booksmusicfilmstv.com.


The Velvet Underground Albums

The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
White Light/White Heat (1968)
The Velvet Underground (1969)
Loaded (1970)
Squeeze (1973)

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Loaded
Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground and Nico

 

The Velvet Underground and Nico
Velvet Underground

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1969
Velvet Underground

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VU
The Velvet Underground

Velvet Underground & Nico
Velvet Underground...

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White Light/White Heat
Velvet Underground...

 

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