The Velvet Underground

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About The Velvet Underground

One of rock’s most influential bands, The Velvet Underground embraced the avant-garde spirit of 1960s New York City, while laying the groundwork for decades of alternative and experimental music. ∙ Formed in 1964, the band grew out of the friendship between Lou Reed and John Cale—the latter of whom had worked with pioneering experimental composers John Cage and La Monte Young. ∙ Artist Andy Warhol, who became their manager, insisted that they add German singer/model Nico to the group, and he included them in his traveling multimedia show, Exploding Plastic Inevitable. ∙ The band’s full-length debut, 1967’s The Velvet Underground & Nico, was recognized by the U.S. Library of Congress as “one of the most enduring albums in the history of rock ’n’ roll.” ∙ Reflecting on the group’s first LP—which initially sold only 30,000 copies—experimental icon Brian Eno said, “I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band!” ∙ After pushing the limits of their sound with 1968’s distortion-filled White Light/White Heat, they returned to more pop-oriented territory on their 1969 self-titled album and 1970’s Loaded. ∙ The Velvet Underground was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, and Rolling Stone included the group in its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. ∙ In challenging artistic norms while balancing pop with abrasive sonics, the band influenced such forward-thinking artists as Patti Smith, Joy Division, The Strokes, and Sonic Youth.

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