Get ready to dive into the world of The Velvet Underground, an influential American rock band whose history is as rich and tumultuous as their music. Formed in 1964, they officially chose their name, inspired by a book on unconventional sexual behavior, in 1965.
Let's start with the original band members, consisting of Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Angus MacLise. This lineup would later undergo multiple transformations following John Cale's exit in 1968.
Meeting Andy Warhol
In 1965, The Velvet Underground began to work with iconic artist, Andy Warhol. As part of Warhol's ‘Exploding Plastic Inevitable' show, the band began to combine rock music with avant-garde concepts, a unique approach that would help shape their sound and image.
A Shift and Disbandment
After John Cale's departure in 1968, the band saw a series of lineup changes. Five years later in 1973, The Velvet Underground disbanded. Sterling Morrison, one of the original members, passed away in 1995.
Induction to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Velvet Underground's influence and contribution to rock music were officially recognized in 1996 when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lou Reed, John Cale, and Maureen Tucker performed a tribute to Morrison during the ceremony. Sadly, Lou Reed, who was instrumental in the band's journey, passed away in 2013.
Legacy of The Velvet Underground
Despite their trials, the band's influence on rock music is undeniable. The New York Times called them “the most influential American rock band of our time” in 1998, further cementing their legacy. Their third album, “The Velvet Underground,” secured the 143rd spot in Rolling Stone's 2020 edition of ‘The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.' Their journey may have been marked by frequent changes and loss, but their legacy continues to inspire future generations of rock musicians.