The Velvet Underground

Lou Reed and his group of proto-punks called themselves The Velvet Underground and have proven to be one of the most influential bands to ever step into dimly lit limelight. While commercially underappreciated during their years together, the New York ensemble had a devout cult following and loads of credibility. Relying heavily on experimental methods and sometimes gloomy narrative tunes, the Velvet Underground carved a distinctive niche for themselves during the late 60's and early 70's. Reed's deadpan vocals, John Cale's viola, bass and organ, Sterling Morrison's guitar, and Angus MacLise followed by Maureen Tucker's drums created their unique, bleak sound. The inclusion of Andy Warhol as manager in 1965 brought singer Nico into the mix. Their debut album released in January 1967 called "The Velvet Underground & Nico" was branded by an Andy Warhol banana image on the cover. Their second album "White Light/White Heat" reflected the turmoil of Nico's and Warhol's recent departures, and by the following year John Cale was gone when problems surfaced between him and Lou Reed. By the summer of 1970, Reed had also quit the band. Those who left- Reed, Nico, and John Cale- established formidable solo careers, and the remnants of the Velvet Underground officially broke up in 1973. They got back together in 1990 for a reunion effort after the death of Andy Warhol, though before too long, Reed's and Cale's egos clashed again, resulting in another falling out. The short-lived Velvet Underground's influence has proven to be long-lived, evidenced in countless bands, from Joy Division to My Morning Jacket.

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