Saturday, June 18, 2011
Though they never had huge commercial success, The Velvet Underground are considered one of the most influential groups in rock history. Rolling Stone named them 19th out of the “100 Greatest Artists,” and they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. This proto-punk, NYC-based band did not share the flower power ethos of the late 60s; their music explored darker, urban themes, as in the lyrics about drug addiction in “Run Run Run,” heard above in a 1969 performance. The vocals are followed by a jam featuring characteristic guitar feedback and distortion. Andy Warhol (shots of the pop artist are in the video above) managed the group, which played regularly at his studio, The Factory. Warhol’s multimedia shows, which accompanied Velvet Underground concerts, were known as the “Exploding Plastic Inevitable.” Guitarist and songwriter Lou Reed has gone on to a successful solo career; his performances are showcased here, here and, with Pete Townshend, here.