Music Corner – The Velvet Underground… & Nico


The Velvet Underground has got to be one of my favorite bands. I admire the poetry and sound that the group has to offer. The Velvet Underground barley sold any records at all during their brief time together; in fact their first album, “The Velvet Underground and Nico,” only sold a few thousand copies.  Yet, a very common thing to hear about the album is that everyone who bought one of those records started a band. This statement is supported by famous bands, and people who include but are certainly not limited to, Roxy Music, U2, Patti Smith, the Sex Pistols, Talking Heads, .R.E.M., Sonic Youth, and several others.
The Velvet Underground was most definitely ahead of their time. You see, in the 60’s most bands were writing songs about peace, love, flower power, and hallucinogenic trips. The other side of popular music was beatnik and folk music, which was basically poetry that people could relate to. I guess you could say it was really either a time of popular sound or popular lyrics. Well, The Velvet Underground combines beatnik poetry with popular sound.
The original lineup consisted of Lou Reed, as the vocalist and guitarist, John Cale, as the keyboardist and viola player, Sterling Morrison, as another guitarist, and Maureen “Moe” Tucker, as the drummer. Later on, the artist Andy Warhol placed them in his care after watching them perform. The Velvets became the house band at Warhol’s studio, known as the Factory. Lou Reed was an awkward performer, and Nico, a German model and singer, was suggested as a member of the band.
Their debut album featured the infamous banana by Andy Warhol, which was actually a sticker that the buyer would peel and find a pink banana underneath it. The Velvet Underground addressed taboo topics, such as sexual deviancy, drug addiction, and paranoia.  In doing so, the band invented a new sound. The Velvet Underground went on to create a total of 4 albums, all of which are critically acclaimed.