Lou Reed from wikipedia


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Lou Reed from wikipedia

  1. 1. Lou Reed From Wikipedia PDF generated using the open source mwlib toolkit. See http://code.pediapress.com/ for more information. PDF generated at: Mon, 28 Oct 2013 12:09:59 UTC
  2. 2. Contents Articles Lou Reed Discography: With the Velvet Underground 1 13 The Velvet Underground 13 The Velvet Underground & Nico 22 White Light/White Heat 32 The Velvet Underground (album) 35 Loaded (The Velvet Underground album) 39 Live at Max's Kansas City 43 1969: The Velvet Underground Live 46 VU (album) 50 Another View 52 Live MCMXCIII 55 Peel Slowly and See 58 Bootleg Series Volume 1: The Quine Tapes 62 Discography: As a solo artist 65 Lou Reed discography 65 Lou Reed (album) 70 Transformer (album) 73 Berlin (Lou Reed album) 77 Sally Can't Dance 80 Metal Machine Music 82 Coney Island Baby 85 Rock and Roll Heart 87 Street Hassle 89 Live: Take No Prisoners 92 The Bells (album) 94 Growing Up in Public (Lou Reed album) 95 The Blue Mask 97 Legendary Hearts 99 New Sensations 100 Mistrial (album) 102 New York (album) 104
  3. 3. Songs for Drella 107 Magic and Loss 109 Set the Twilight Reeling 111 Ecstasy (Lou Reed album) 113 The Raven (Lou Reed album) 115 Hudson River Wind Meditations 118 The Stone: Issue Three 120 The Creation of the Universe 121 Lulu (Lou Reed and Metallica album) 122 Filmography 128 One-Trick Pony (film) 128 Get Crazy 130 Rock & Rule 135 Permanent Record (film) 140 Faraway, So Close! 142 Blue in the Face 146 Closure (video) 148 Lulu on the Bridge 152 Prozac Nation (film) 156 Berlin: Live at St. Ann's Warehouse 158 Palermo Shooting 160 References Article Sources and Contributors 162 Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors 166 Article Licenses License 167
  4. 4. Lou Reed 1 Lou Reed Lou Reed Reed performing at the Hop Farm Music Festival (2011) Background information Birth name Lewis Allan Reed Born March 2, 1942 Brooklyn, New York, United States Died October 27, 2013 (aged 71) Southampton, New York, United States Genres Rock, experimental rock, art rock, protopunk, glam rock, avant-garde Occupations Musician, singer-songwriter, producer, photographer Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass, synthesizer, keyboards, piano, harmonica, drums, percussion Years active 1964–2013 Labels Matador, MGM, RCA, Sire, Reprise, Warner Bros., Pickwick Associated acts The Velvet Underground, John Cale, Nico, David Bowie, The Killers, Mick Ronson, Laurie Anderson, Peter Gabriel, Metallica Notable instruments Ostrich guitar Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed (March 2, 1942 – October 27, 2013) was an American rock musician and songwriter.[1] After being guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter of the Velvet Underground, his solo career spanned several decades. The Velvet Underground were a commercial failure in the late 1960s, but the group has gained a considerable cult following in the years since its demise and has gone on to become one of the most widely cited and influential bands of the era – hence Brian Eno's famous quote that while the Velvet Underground's debut album only sold 30,000 copies, "everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band." After his departure from the group, Reed began a solo career in 1972. He had a hit the following year with "Walk on the Wild Side", but subsequently lacked the mainstream commercial success its chart status seemed to indicate. In 1975, Reed released a double album of feedback loops, Metal Machine Music, upon which he later commented, "No one is supposed to be able to do a thing like that and survive."[2] Reed was known for his distinctive deadpan voice, poetic lyrics and for pioneering and coining the term ostrich guitar.
  5. 5. Lou Reed 2 Early life Reed was born at Beth El Hospital (now Brookdale) in Brooklyn and grew up in Freeport, Long Island.[citation needed] Contrary to some sources, his birth name was Lewis Allan Reed, not Louis Firbanks, a name that was coined as a joke by Lester Bangs in Creem magazine.[3] Reed is the son of Toby (née Futterman) and Sidney Joseph Reed, an accountant. His family was Jewish, and although he said that he was Jewish, he added, "My God is rock’n’roll. It’s an obscure power that can change your life. The most important part of my religion is to play guitar."[4][5] Having learned to play the guitar from the radio, he developed an early interest in rock and roll and rhythm and blues, and during high school played in a number of bands. His first recording was as a member of a doo wop-style group called The Jades. In 1956, Reed, who was bisexual,[6] received electroconvulsive therapy as a teenager, which was intended to cure his bisexuality; he wrote about the experience in his 1974 song, "Kill Your Sons."[7] In an interview, Reed said of the experience: "They put the thing down your throat so you don't swallow your tongue, and they put electrodes on your head. That's what was recommended in Rockland County to discourage homosexual feelings. The effect is that you lose your memory and become a vegetable. You can't read a book because you get to page 17 and have to go right back to page one again." Reed as a high school senior, 1959 —Lou Reed quoted in Please Kill Me (1996)[8] Reed began attending Syracuse University in 1960, studying journalism, film directing, and creative writing. In 1961 he began hosting a late-night radio program on WAER called "Excursions On A Wobbly Rail." Named after a song by pianist Cecil Taylor, the program typically featured doo wop, rhythm and blues and jazz, particularly the free jazz developed in the mid-1950s.[9] Many of Reed's guitar techniques, such as the guitar-drum roll, were inspired by jazz saxophonists, notably Ornette Coleman. Reed graduated from Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences with a B.A. in June 1964. While enrolled at Syracuse University, he studied under poet Delmore Schwartz, who he said was "the first great person I ever met," and they would become friends. He credited Schwartz with showing him how "with the simplest language imaginable, and very short, you can accomplish the most astonishing heights."[10] Reed dedicated the song "European Son," from the Velvet Underground's debut album, to Schwartz.[11] In 1982, Reed also recorded "My House" as a tribute to his late mentor. He later said that his goals as a writer were "to bring the sensitivities of the novel to rock music" or to write the Great American Novel in a record album.[12] Songwriter at Pickwick Records In 1964, Reed moved to New York City and began working as an in-house songwriter for Pickwick Records. In 1964, he scored a minor hit with the single "The Ostrich," a parody of popular dance songs of the time, which included lines such as "put your head on the floor and have somebody step on it." His employers felt that the song had hit potential, and arranged for a band to be assembled around Reed to promote the recording. The ad hoc group, called "The Primitives," included Welsh musician John Cale, who had recently moved to New York to study music and was playing viola in composer La Monte Young's Theater of Eternal Music, along with Tony Conrad. Cale and Conrad were both surprised to find that for "The Ostrich", Reed tuned each string of his guitar to the same note. This technique created a drone effect similar to their experimentation in Young's avant-garde ensemble. Disappointed with Reed's performance, Cale was nevertheless impressed by Reed's early repertoire (including "Heroin"), and a partnership began to evolve.
  6. 6. Lou Reed 3 The Velvet Underground Reed and Cale lived together on the Lower East Side, and after inviting Reed's college acquaintances, guitarist Sterling Morrison and drummer Maureen Tucker, to join the group, they formed the Velvet Underground. Though internally unstable (Cale left in 1968, Reed in 1970), and without commercial success, the band has a long-standing reputation as one of the most influential in rock history.[13] "Had he accomplished nothing else, his work with the Velvet Underground in the late Sixties would assure him a place in anyone's rock & roll pantheon; those remarkable songs still serve as an articulate aural nightmare of men and women caught in the beauty and terror of sexual, street and drug paranoia, unwilling or unable to move. The message is that urban life is tough stuff—it will kill you; Reed, the poet of destruction, knows it but never looks away and somehow finds holiness as well as perversity in both his sinners and his quest. . . . [H]e is still one of a handful of American artists capable of the spiritual home run." [14] —Rolling Stone, 1975 The group soon caught the attention of artist Andy Warhol. One of Warhol's first contributions was to integrate them into the Exploding Plastic Inevitable. Warhol's associates inspired many of Reed's songs as he fell into a thriving, multifaceted artistic scene.[citation needed] Reed rarely gave an interview without paying homage to Warhol as a mentor. Conflict emerged when Warhol had the idea for the group to take on a chanteuse, the European former model and singer Nico. Reed and the others registered their objection by titling their debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico to imply that Nico was not accepted as a member of the group.[citation needed] Despite his initial resistance, Reed wrote several songs for Nico to sing, and the two were briefly lovers (as were Nico and Cale later). The Velvet Underground & Nico reached No. 171 on the charts. Today, however, it is considered one of the most influential rock albums ever recorded. Rolling Stone has it listed as the 13th most influential album of all time. Brian Eno once famously stated that although few people bought the album, most of those who did were inspired to form their own band. By the time the band recorded White Light/White Heat, Nico had quit and Warhol was fired, both against Cale's wishes.[citation needed] Warhol's replacement as manager, Steve Sesnick, convinced Reed to drive Cale out of the band. Morrison and Tucker were discomfited by Reed's tactics but continued with the group.[citation needed] Cale's replacement was Doug Yule, whom Reed would often facetiously introduce as his younger brother.[citation needed] The group now took on a more pop-oriented sound and acted more as a vehicle for Reed to develop his songwriting craft.[citation needed] The group released two albums with this line up: 1969's The Velvet Underground and 1970's Loaded. The latter included two of the group's most commercially successful songs, "Rock and Roll" and "Sweet Jane". Reed left the Velvet Underground in August 1970; the band disintegrated as core members Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker departed in 1971 and 1972, respectively. Yule continued until early 1973, and the band released one more studio album, Squeeze, under the Velvet Underground name. After the band's move to Atlantic Records' Cotillion label, their new manager pushed Reed to change the subject matter of his songs to lighter topics in hopes of commercial success. The band's album Loaded had taken more time to record than the previous three albums together, but had not broken the band through to a wider audience. Reed briefly retired to his parents' home on Long Island.[citation needed] 1970s After quitting the Velvet Underground in August 1970, Reed took a job at his father's tax accounting firm as a typist, by his own account earning $40 a week. In 1971, he signed a recording contract with RCA Records and recorded his first solo album in London with top session musicians including Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman, members of the progressive rock group Yes. The album, simply titled Lou Reed, contained smoothly produced, re-recorded versions of unreleased Velvet Underground songs, some of which were originally recorded by the Velvets for Loaded but shelved (see the Peel Slowly and See box set). This first solo album was overlooked by most pop music critics and it did not sell well, although music critic Stephen Holden, in Rolling Stone, called it an "almost perfect album. . . .
  7. 7. Lou Reed 4 which embodied the spirit of the Velvets."[15] Holden describes Reed's unique qualities, in both his voice and lyrics, in the album: Reed's voice hasn't changed much since the early days. Outrageously unmusical, it combines the sass of Jagger and the mockery of early Dylan, but is lower-pitched than either. It is a voice so incapable of bullshit that it makes even an artsy arrangement work by turning the whole thing into a joyous travesty. Just as arresting as Reed's voice are his lyrics, which combine a New York street punk sensibility and rock song cliches with a powerful poetic gift. "His artistic self-awareness is so secure that he invariably turns less into more. For he not only awakens nostalgia for Fifties rock, he shows that it is still a vital resource for today's musicians. . . . The overall impression is that of a knowing primitivism, as serious as it is playful, and never less than refreshing. . . . By keeping close to the roots he is keeping the faith." —Rolling Stone, (1972) In December 1972, Reed released Transformer. David Bowie and Mick Ronson co-produced the album and introduced Reed to a wider popular audience (specifically in the U.K.). The hit single "Walk on the Wild Side" was an ironic yet affectionate salute to the misfits, hustlers, and transvestites who once surrounded Andy Warhol. When he was first introduced to Reed's music, Bowie stated, "I had never heard anything quite like it. It was a revelation to me."[16] Each of the song's five verses poignantly describes an actual person who had been a fixture at The Factory during the mid-to-late 1960s: (1) Holly Woodlawn, (2) Candy Darling, (3) "Little Joe" Dallesandro, (4) "Sugar Plum Fairy" Joe Campbell and (5) Jackie Curtis. The song's transgressive lyrics evaded radio censorship. Though the jazzy arrangement (courtesy of bassist Herbie Flowers and saxophonist Ronnie Ross) was musically somewhat atypical for Reed, it eventually became his signature song. The song came about as a result of his commission to compose a soundtrack to a theatrical adaptation of Nelson Algren's novel of the same name, though the play failed to materialize. Ronson's arrangements brought out new aspects of Reed's songs. "Perfect Day," for example, features delicate strings and soaring dynamics. It was rediscovered in the 1990s and allowed Reed to drop "Walk on the Wild Side" from his concerts. Though Transformer would prove to be Reed's commercial and critical pinnacle, there was no small amount of resentment in Reed devoted to the shadow the record cast over the rest of his career. An argument between Bowie and Reed ended their working relationship for several years, though its subject is not known. The two reconciled some years later, and Reed performed with Bowie at the latter's 50th birthday concert at Madison Square Garden in 1997.[17] They would not formally collaborate again until 2003's The Raven. Touring in support of Transformer posed the challenge of forming a band for the first time since joining the Velvets. Reed took the simple path of hiring an inexperienced bar band, the Tots. Reed spent much of 1972 and the winter of 1973 on the road with them. Though they improved over the months, criticism of their still-basic abilities ultimately led Reed to fire them mid-tour. He chose keyboardist Moogy Klingman to come up with a new five-member backing band on barely a week's notice. Thus the tour continued through the spring with a denser, bluesier and tighter sound that presaged the very successful live albums Reed would record with all different musicians in December. Reed followed Transformer with the darker Berlin, a concept album about two junkies in love in the titular city. The songs variously concern domestic abuse ("Caroline Says I," "Caroline Says II"), drug addiction ("How Do You Think It Feels"), adultery and prostitution ("The Kids"), and suicide ("The Bed"). Reed's late-1973 European tour, featuring dual lead guitarists Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner, mixed his Berlin material with older numbers. After Berlin came two albums in 1974, Sally Can't Dance, and a live record Rock 'n' Roll Animal, which contained performances of the Velvet Underground songs "Sweet Jane" and "Heroin" became his biggest selling album. Rock 'n' Roll Animal, and its follow-up released in early 1975 Lou Reed Live, primarily featuring live Transformer material, were both recorded at the same show (Academy Of Music, NYC December 21, 1973), and kept Reed in the public eye with strong sales. The later expanded CD version of Rock 'n' Roll Animal taken together with Lou Reed Live are the entirety of the show that night, although not in the running order it was performed.
  8. 8. Lou Reed 5 "Lou Reed doesn't just write about squalid characters, he allows them to leer and breathe in their own voices, and he colors familiar landscapes through their own eyes. In the process, Reed has created a body of music that comes as close to disclosing the parameters of human loss and recovery as we're likely to find. That qualifies him, in my opinion, as one of the few real heroes rock & roll has raised." —Mikal Gilmore, Rolling Stone, (1979) As he had done with Berlin after Transformer, in 1975 Reed responded to commercial success with a commercial failure, a double album of electronically generated audio feedback, Metal Machine Music. Critics interpreted it as a gesture of contempt, an attempt to break his contract with RCA or to alienate his less sophisticated fans. But Reed claimed that the album was a genuine artistic effort, even suggesting that quotations of classical music could be found buried in the feedback. Lester Bangs declared it "genius," though also as psychologically disturbing. The album was reportedly returned to stores by the thousands after a few weeks.[18] Though later admitting that the liner notes' list of instruments is fictitious and intended as parody, Reed maintains that MMM was and is a serious album. He has since stated though that at the time he had taken it seriously, he was also "very stoned".[citation needed] In the 2000s it was adapted for orchestral performance by the German ensemble Zeitkratzer. By contrast, 1975's Coney Island Baby was mainly a warm and mellow album, though for its characters Reed still drew on the underbelly of city life. At this time his lover was a transgender woman, Rachel, mentioned in the dedication of "Coney Island Baby" and appearing in the photos on the cover of Reed's 1977 "best of" album, Walk on the Wild Side: The Best of Lou Reed. While Rock and Roll Heart, his 1976 debut for his new record label Arista, fell short of expectations, Street Hassle (1978) was a return to form in the midst of the punk scene he had helped to inspire. Reed was dismissive of punk, however, and rejected any affiliation with it. "I'm too literate to be into punk rock . . . The whole CBGB's, new Max's thing that everyone's into and what's going on in London—you don't seriously think I'm responsible for what's mostly rubbish?"[19] In 1978 Reed released his third live album, Live: Take No Prisoners, which some critics thought was his "bravest work yet," while others considered it his "silliest."[] Rolling Stone described it as "one of the funniest live albums ever recorded [with] Lou's dark-humored, Lenny Bruce-like monologues. Reed felt it was his best album: You may find this funny, but I think of it as a contemporary urban-blues album. After all, that's what I write—tales of the city. And if I dropped dead tomorrow, this is the record I'd choose for posterity. It's not only the smartest thing I've done, it's also as close to Lou Reed as you're probably going to get, for better or for worse. The Bells (1979) featured jazz musician Don Cherry, and was followed the next year by Growing Up in Public with guitarist Chuck Hammer. Around this period he also appeared as a sleazy record producer in Paul Simon's film One Trick Pony. Reed also played several unannounced one-off concerts in tiny downtown Manhattan clubs with the likes of Cale, Patti Smith, and David Byrne during this period. Reed and Patti Smith both worked at Record Plant in 1977 at the same time, each trying to complete albums. Bruce Springsteen was also at the studio working on finishing his Darkness on the Edge of Town album.[20] 1980s In 1980, Reed married British designer Sylvia Morales. They were divorced more than a decade later. While together, Morales inspired Reed to write several songs, particularly "Think It Over" from 1980's Growing Up in Public and "Heavenly Arms" from 1982's The Blue Mask with bassist Fernando Saunders.[citation needed] After Legendary Hearts (1983) and New Sensations (1984) fared adequately on the charts, Reed was sufficiently reestablished as a public figure to become spokesman for Honda motorcycles. In the early 1980s, Reed worked with a number of innovative guitarists including Chuck Hammer and Robert Quine. Hammer appeared on Growing Up in Public (1980) and Quine appeared on The Blue Mask (1982), and Legendary Hearts (1983). It was through working with both of these guitarists that Reed regained his sense of sonic
  9. 9. Lou Reed experimentation.[citation needed] On September 22, 1985, Reed performed at the first Farm Aid concert in Champaign, Illinois. He performed "Doin' The Things That We Want To", "I Love You, Suzanne", "New Sensations" and "Walk on The Wild Side" as his solo set, later playing bass for Roy Orbison during his set. In June 1986, Reed released Mistrial (co-produced with Fernando Saunders), a more commercial album than previous records. To support the release, he released two music videos: "No Money Down" and "The Original Wrapper". At the same time of Mistrial's release, he joined Amnesty International's A Conspiracy of Hope Tour and was outspoken about New York's political issues and personalities. He would later use this experience on the 1989 album New York, commenting on crime, AIDS, Jesse Jackson, Kurt Waldheim, and Pope John Paul II. Following Warhol's death after routine surgery in 1987, Reed again collaborated with John Cale on the biographical Songs for Drella, Warhol's nickname. The album marked an end to a 22-year estrangement from Cale. On the album, Reed sings of his love for his late friend, but also criticizes both the doctors who were unable to save Warhol's life and Warhol's would-be assassin, Valerie Solanas. 1990s In 1990, following a twenty-year hiatus, the Velvet Underground reformed for a Fondation Cartier benefit in France. Reed released his sixteenth solo record, Magic and Loss, in 1992, an album about mortality, inspired by the death of two close friends from cancer. In 1993, the Velvet Underground again reunited and toured throughout Europe, although plans for a North American tour were cancelled following another falling out between Reed and Cale. In 1994, Reed appeared in A Celebration: The Music of Pete Townshend and The Who, also known as Daltrey Sings Townshend. This was a two-night concert at Carnegie Hall produced by Roger Daltrey in celebration of his fiftieth birthday. In 1994, a CD and a VHS video were issued, and in 1998 a DVD was released. Reed performed a radically rearranged version of "Now And Then" from Psychoderelict. In 1996, the Velvet Underground were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. At the induction ceremony, Reed performed a song entitled "Last Night I Said Goodbye to My Friend" alongside former bandmates John Cale and Maureen Tucker, in dedication to Velvet Underground guitarist Sterling Morrison, who had died the previous August. Reed has since been nominated for the Rock Hall as a solo artist twice, in 2000 and 2001, but has not been inducted.[21] His 1996 album, Set the Twilight Reeling, met with a lukewarm reception, but 2000's Ecstasy drew praise from most critics. In 1996, Reed contributed songs and music to Time Rocker, an avant-garde theatrical interpretation of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine staged by theater director Robert Wilson. The piece premiered in the Thalia Theater, Hamburg, Germany, and was later also shown at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. In 1998, the PBS TV show American Masters aired Timothy Greenfield-Sanders' feature documentary Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart. This film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. and at the Berlin Film Festival in Germany went on to screen at over 50 festivals worldwide. In 1999, the film and Reed as its subject received a Grammy Award for best long form music video. Since the late 1990s, Reed has been romantically linked to the musician, multi-media and performance artist Laurie Anderson, and the two have collaborated on a number of recordings together. Anderson contributed to "Call On Me" from Reed's project The Raven, to the tracks "Baton Rouge" and "Rock Minuet" from Reed's Ecstasy, and to "Hang On To Your Emotions" from Reed's Set the Twilight Reeling. Reed contributed to "In Our Sleep" from Anderson's Bright Red and to "One Beautiful Evening" from her Life on a String. They married on April 12, 2008. 6
  10. 10. Lou Reed 2000s 2000 to 2003 In May 2000, Reed performed before Pope John Paul II at the Great Jubilee Concert in Rome. In 2000, a new collaboration with Robert Wilson called "POEtry" was staged at the Thalia Theater in Germany. As with the previous collaboration "Time Rocker," "POEtry" was also inspired by the works of a 19th-century writer: Edgar Allan Poe. Reed became interested in Poe after producer Hal Willner suggested he read some of Poe's text at a Halloween benefit he was curating at St. Ann's Episcopal Church in Brooklyn.[22] For this new collaboration, Reed Reed performing in Portland, Oregon, in January reworked and rewrote some of Poe's text and included some new songs 2004 based on the theme explored in the texts. In 2001, Reed made a cameo appearance in the movie adaptation of Prozac Nation. On October 6, 2001, the New York Times published a Reed poem called Laurie Sadly Listening in which he reflects upon the September 11 attacks. Incorrect reports of Reed's death were broadcast by numerous U.S. radio stations in 2001, caused by a hoax email (purporting to be from Reuters) which said he had died of a drug overdose. In 2003, he released a 2-CD set, The Raven, based on "Poe-Try." Besides Reed and his band, the album featured actors and musicians including singers David Bowie, Laurie Anderson, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, The Blind Boys of Alabama and Antony Hegarty, saxophonist Ornette Coleman, and actors Elizabeth Ashley, Christopher Walken, Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe, Amanda Plummer, Fisher Stevens and Kate Valk. The album consisted of songs written by Reed and spoken-word performances of reworked and rewritten texts of Edgar Allan Poe by the actors, set to electronic music composed by Reed. At the same time a single disc CD version of the albums, focusing on the music, was also released. A few months after the release of The Raven, a new 2-CD Best Of-set was released, entitled NYC Man (The Ultimate Collection 1967-2003), which featured an unreleased version of the song "Who am I" and a selection of career spanning tracks that had been selected, remastered and sequenced under Reed's supervision. In April 2003, Reed embarked on a new world tour supporting both new and released material, with a band including cellist Jane Scarpantoni and singer Antony Hegarty. During some of the concerts for this tour, the band was joined by Master Ren Guangyi, Reed's personal T'ai Chi instructor, performing T'ai Chi movements to the music on stage. This tour was documented in the 2004 double-disc live album Animal Serenade, recorded live at The Wiltern in Los Angeles. In 2003, Reed released his first book of photographs, Emotions in Action. This work was made up out of two books, a larger A4-paper sized called Emotions and a smaller one called Actions which was laid into the hard cover of the former. After Hours: a Tribute to the Music of Lou Reed was released by Wampus Multimedia in 2003. In 2003, Reed was also a judge for the third annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers. 7
  11. 11. Lou Reed 8 2004 to 2006 In 2004, a Groovefinder remix of his song, "Satellite of Love" (called "Satellite of Love '04") was released. It reached No. 10 in the UK singles chart. Also in 2004, Reed contributed vocals and guitar to the track "Fistful of Love" on I Am a Bird Now by Antony and the Johnsons. In 2005, Reed recorded a spoken word text on Danish rock band Kashmir's album No Balance Palace. In January 2006, a second book of photographs, Lou Reed's New York, was released.[23] At the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards, Reed performed "White Light/White Heat" with The Raconteurs. Later in the night, while co-presenting the award for Best Rock Video with Pink, he exclaimed, apparently unscripted, that "MTV should be playing more rock n' roll." In October 2006, Reed appeared at Hal Willner's Leonard Cohen tribute show Reed performing in Málaga, Spain, "Came So Far For Beauty" in Dublin, beside the cast of Laurie Anderson, Nick July 21, 2008. Cave, Antony, Jarvis Cocker, Beth Orton, and others. According to the reports, he played a heavy metal version of Cohen's "The Stranger Song."[24] He also performed "One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong" and two duets—"Joan of Arc", with Cohen's former back-up singer Julie Christensen, and "Memories"—in a duet with Anjani Thomas. In December 2006, Reed played a first series of show at St. Ann's Warehouse, Brooklyn, based on his 1973 Berlin song cycle. Reed was reunited on stage with guitarist Steve Hunter, who played on the original album as well as on Rock 'n' Roll Animal, as well as joined by singers Antony Hegarty and Sharon Jones, pianist Rupert Christie, a horn and string section and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. The show was produced by Bob Ezrin, who also produced the original album, and Hal Willner. The stage was designed by painter Julian Schnabel and a film about protagonist "Caroline" directed by his daughter, Lola Schnabel, was projected to the stage. A live recording of these concerts was also published as a film (directed by Schnabel) which was released in 2008. The show was also played at the Sydney Festival in January 2007 and throughout Europe during June and July 2007. The album version of the concert, entitled Berlin: Live At St. Ann's Warehouse, was released in 2008. 2007 to 2009 In April 2007, he released Hudson River Wind Meditations, his first record of ambient meditation music. The record was released on the Sounds True record label and contains four tracks that were said to have been composed just for himself as a guidance for T'ai Chi exercise and meditation. In May 2007, Reed performed the narration for a screening of Guy Maddin's silent film The Brand Upon the Brain. In June 2007, he performed live at the Traffic Festival 2007 in Turin, Italy, a five-day free event organized by the city. Reed performing the Berlin album in Stockholm, Sweden, 2008. In August 2007, Reed went into the studio with the Killers in New York City to record "Tranquilize," a duet with Brandon Flowers for the Killers' b-side/rarities album, called Sawdust. During that month, he also recorded guitar for the Lucibel Crater song "Threadbare Funeral" which appears on their album The Family Album. In October 2007, Reed gave a special performance in the Recitement song "Passengers." The album combines music with spoken word. The album was composed by Stephen Emmer and produced by Tony Visconti. Hollandcentraal was inspired by this piece of music and literature, which spawned a concept for a music video. On October 1, 2008, Reed joined Richard Barone via projected video on a spoken/sung duet of Reed's "I'll Be Your Mirror," with cellist Jane Scarpantoni, in Barone's FRONTMAN: A Musical Reading at Carnegie Hall.
  12. 12. Lou Reed On October 2 and 3, 2008, he premiered his new group, which later was named Metal Machine Trio, at REDCAT (Walt Disney Concert Hall Complex, Los Angeles). The live recordings of the concerts were released under the title The Creation of the Universe. The Trio features Ulrich Krieger (saxophone) and Sarth Calhoun (electronics), and plays free improvised instrumental music inspired by Reed's 1975 album Metal Machine Music. The music ranges from ambient soundscapes to free rock to contemporary noise. The trio played further shows at New York's Gramercy Theater in April 2009, and appeared as part of Reed's band at the 2009 Lollapalooza, including a ten-minute free trio improvisation. At Lollapalooza, held in Chicago's Grant Park, Reed played "Sweet Jane" and "White Light/White Heat" with Metallica at Madison Square Garden as part of the twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on October 30, 2009. Reed provided the voice of Maltazard, the villain in the 2009 Luc Besson animated film, Arthur and the Vengeance of Maltazard, and played the role of himself in Wim Wenders' movie Palermo Shooting (2008). In 2009, Reed became an active member of the Jazz Foundation of America (JFA).[25] He was a featured performer at the JFA's annual benefit "A Great Night in Harlem" in May 2009.[26] 2010s Reed remained active doing benefits and composing music. He contributed vocals on the third Gorillaz album, Plastic Beach, on the song "Some Kind Of Nature" and co-wrote and performed backup music for a Chen Style T'ai Chi instructional DVD. He had a co-production credit on Laurie Anderson's Homeland. Reed performed a cover of the Buddy Holly song "Peggy Sue" which is featured on the tribute album Rave On Buddy Holly. In 2010, French/American underground electronic recording artist, Uffie used an instrumental sample of The Velvet Underground track "Rock & Roll" for her debut album's title track "Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans". Before the release of the album there was a conflict between Uffie and Reed as to who would be credited as the writer of the track. Reed would only allow her to use the sample if she called "Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans" an adaptation of "Rock & Roll" and he received sole credit as songwriter for the track. This dispute delayed the album by six months and Uffie labeled Reed as "fucking difficult". Reed began touring with the Metal Machine Trio, which was widely viewed as a return to his exploration of noise and sound. In 2011, heavy metal band Metallica recorded a full length collaboration with Reed entitled Lulu, released on November 1 in North America and October 31 everywhere else. In January 2012, Reed and John Cale sued the Andy Warhol Foundation for the license to use the yellow banana image from Warhol's art for The Velvet Underground & Nico album. Reed contributed vocals to the track "The Wanderlust" on Metric's 2012 album Synthetica. He was a well-known supporter of the Free Tibet movement.[citation needed] In 2012, a bilingual (French and English) book Lou Reed: Rimes/Rhymes was published with a compilation of more than 300 photos of Reed, with comments from co-author Bernard Comment. 9
  13. 13. Lou Reed 10 Death In May 2013, Reed underwent a liver transplant in Cleveland. Afterwards he claimed on his website to be "bigger and stronger" than ever. On October 27, 2013, Reed died at the age of 71 from liver disease at his home in Southampton, New York, on Long Island. His physician Charles Miller noted that Reed "was fighting right up to the very end. He was doing his Tai Chi exercises within an hour of his death, trying to keep strong and keep fighting."[27] Tributes were paid to Reed on Twitter, including Iggy Pop, Miley Cyrus, Salman Rushdie, Samuel L. Jackson and Lenny Kravitz,[28] Ricky Gervais, Ryan Adams, Elijah Wood, and many others. John Cale, his Velvet Underground bandmate, posted on his Facebook: "The world has lost a fine songwriter and poet…I've lost my 'school-yard buddy'". Former Velvet Underground drummer Mo Tucker responded by saying that Reed was "generous, encouraging and thoughtful. Working with him sometimes could be trying to some people, but never to me. I guess we learned from each other. We all learned from each other. Discography With the Velvet Underground • The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967) • VU (1985) • White Light/White Heat (1968) • Another View (1986) • The Velvet Underground (1969) • Live MCMXCIII (1993) • Loaded (1970) • Peel Slowly and See (1995) • Live at Max's Kansas City (1972) • Fully Loaded (1997) • 1969: The Velvet Underground Live (1974) • Bootleg Series Volume 1: The Quine Tapes (2001) As a solo artist • Lou Reed (1972) • New Sensations (1984) • Transformer (1972) • Mistrial (1986) • Berlin (1973) • New York (1989) • Sally Can't Dance (1974) • Songs for Drella (with John Cale) (1990) • Metal Machine Music (1975) • Magic and Loss (1992) • Coney Island Baby (1975) • Set the Twilight Reeling (1996) • Rock and Roll Heart (1976) • Ecstasy (2000) • Street Hassle (1978) • The Raven (2003) • Live: Take No Prisoners (1978) • Hudson River Wind Meditations (2007) • The Bells (1979) • The Stone: Issue Three (with John Zorn and Laurie Anderson) (2008) • Growing Up in Public (1980) • The Creation of the Universe (with the Metal Machine Trio) (2008) • The Blue Mask (1982) • Lulu (with Metallica) (2011) • Legendary Hearts (1983)
  14. 14. Lou Reed Filmography • • • • • • • • • • • One Trick Pony (1980) as Steve Kunelian Get Crazy (1983) as Auden Rock & Rule (1983) as Mok's singing voice Permanent Record (1988) as himself Faraway, So Close! (1993) as himself Blue in the Face (1995) as "Man with Strange Glasses" Closure (1997) as himself Lulu on the Bridge (1998) as "Not Lou Reed" Prozac Nation (2001) as himself Berlin: Live At St. Ann's Warehouse (2008) Palermo Shooting (2008) as himself References [1] Lou Reed – Walk on the Wild Side: The Stories Behind the Songs (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?vid=ISBN0634080326& id=SdiPJ8sPF18C& pg=PA18& lpg=PA18& dq="Lewis+ Allan+ Reed"), Chris Roberts and Lou Reed, 2004, Hal Leonard, ISBN 0-634-08032-6 [2] " Lou Reed (http:/ / www. guardian. co. uk/ music/ lou-reed)". The Guardian. Retrieved July 16, 2011. [3] Lou Reed: The Stories Behind the Songs (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?vid=ISBN0634080326& id=SdiPJ8sPF18C& pg=PA18& lpg=PA18& dq="Lewis+ Allan+ Reed"), Chris Roberts and Lou Reed, 2004, Hal Leonard, ISBN 0-634-08032-6 [4] “The Gospel According to Lou: Interview with Lou Reed,” (http:/ / www. nyrock. com/ interviews/ loureed_int. htm) by Gabriella, http:/ / www. nyrock. com (November 1998). Retrieved October 27, 2013. [5] "Lou Reed’s paradoxical Jewishness" (http:/ / www. timesofisrael. com/ lou-reeds-contradictory-jewishness/ ), Times of Israel, October 27, 2013 [6] Lou Reed – Walk on the Wild Side: The Stories Behind the Songs (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=4lMzbVCzZMgC& pg=PA38& lpg=PA38& dq=Lou+ Reed+ bisexual& source=bl& ots=8xGm5fA6XX& sig=JA7NhB9ANh1qn6DdiVKFEqwEEZ0& hl=en& sa=X& ei=vVofUeO2OK-C0QHR3oAQ& ved=0CEQQ6AEwAjgK#v=onepage& q=bisexual& f=false), Chris Roberts and Lou Reed, 2004, Hal Leonard, ISBN 0-634-08032-6 [7] “Lou Reed Lived and Died with a Broken Heart,” (http:/ / fatherhoodchannel. com/ 2013/ 10/ 27/ lou-reed-lived-and-died-with-a-broken-heart-027/ ) by Todd McFliker (October 27, 2013). Retrieved Oct 27, 2013. [8] McNeil, Legs; McCain, Gillian, Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=mkG7Y6_J7pUC& printsec=frontcover), Grove Press, (1996). Cf. pp.3–4 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=mkG7Y6_J7pUC& printsec=frontcover& dq=please+ kill+ me& hl=en& ei=ZQBrTvWmBYPZgQer2IyGBg& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=1& ved=0CCoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage& q=Rockland County& f=false) [9] David Fricke, liner notes for the Peel Slowly and See box set (Polydor, 1995) [10] "Rock and Roll Heart", documentary on the life of Lou Reed (http:/ / www. youtube. com/ watch?v=TjPuF-CYuic& feature=player_detailpage), American Masters [11] "Velvet Underground and Nico" (1967), album cover notes and record label. [12] Interview in Rolling Stone Magazine Nov/Dec 1987: Twentieth Anniversary Issue [13] Black, Johnny. Time Machine: Velvet Underground (1997), Mojo Magazine [14] Nelson, Paul. Rolling Stone, June 5, 1975 p. 60 [15] Holden, Stephen. Rolling Stone magazine, May 25, 1972 p. 68 [16] David Bowie, Patti Smith and others discuss Lou Reed's music and Transformer (http:/ / www. youtube. com/ watch?v=2LTSFPkqZyg), video, 5 min. [17] "David Bowie 50th Birthday with Lou Reed" (http:/ / www. youtube. com/ watch?v=qeL5RcbpiM8) [18] Lou Reed interview with Anthony DeCurtis at the 92nd Street Y New York on September 18, 2006 [19] Waiting For The Man – A Biography of Lou Reed. Jeremy Reed, 1994 Picador p.156 [20] Dolan, Marc. Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock 'n' Roll, W. W. Norton & Company (2013) p. 160 [21] Futurerockhall.com (http:/ / www. futurerockhall. com/ preyear. php?induction_year=2000) [22] VH1.com : Lou Reed : Lou Reed's Obsession With Edgar Allan Poe Spawns The Raven – Rhapsody Music Downloads (http:/ / www. vh1. com/ artists/ news/ 1459300/ 20021226/ reed_lou. jhtml) [23] Lou Reed's New York (http:/ / www. artbook. com/ 3865211526. html) [24] "Came so Far For Beauty At The Point Theatre, Dublin, October 4 and 5, 2006", http:/ / www. leonardcohenfiles. com/ dublin. html 11
  15. 15. Lou Reed [25] jbspins.blogspot.com. 2009-13-10. URL: http:/ / jbspins. blogspot. com/ 2009/ 05/ great-night-2009. html. Accessed: 2009-13-10. (Archived by jbspins.blogspot.com at http:/ / jbspins. blogspot. com/ 2009/ 05/ great-night-2009. html) [26] nydailynews.com. 2009-13-10. URL: http:/ / www. nydailynews. com/ topics/ Jazz+ Foundation+ of+ America. Accessed: 2009-13-10. (Archived by nydailynews.com at http:/ / www. nydailynews. com/ topics/ Jazz+ Foundation+ of+ America) [27] http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ 2013/ 10/ 28/ arts/ music/ lou-reed-dies-at-71. html?hp [28] USA Today, Lou Reed, Fans from Miley Cyrus to Lenny Kravitz had something to say about Lou Reed. (http:/ / www. usatoday. com/ story/ life/ music/ 2013/ 10/ 27/ lou-reed-reaction/ 3281235/ ) Retrieved on October 27, 2013 External links • Official website (http://www.loureed.com/) • "Rock and Roll Heart" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjPuF-CYuic&feature=player_detailpage), documentary about Lou Reed, American Masters (1998), video: 1 hr. 15 min. • Lou Reed (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0715563/) at the Internet Movie Database • Comprehensive music biography of Reed by Allmusic (http://www.allmusic.com/artist/lou-reed-p5247) • BBC obituary (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-24698207) 12
  16. 16. 13 Discography: With the Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground Also known as The Warlocks The Falling Spikes Origin New York City, NY, US Genres Art rock, experimental rock, protopunk, avant-garde, psychedelic rock, drone, noise Years active 1964–1973, 1990, 1992–1994, 1996 Labels Verve, Atlantic, Polydor, MGM, Mercury, Cotillion Associated acts Nico, Theater of Eternal Music Past members Lou Reed John Cale Sterling Morrison Angus MacLise Maureen Tucker Doug Yule Walter Powers Willie Alexander The Velvet Underground was an American rock band, active between 1964 and 1973, formed in New York City by Lou Reed and John Cale, who both went on to find success as solo artists. Although experiencing little commercial success while together, the band is often cited by many critics as one of the most important and influential groups of the 1960s.[1] In a 1982 interview Brian Eno made the often repeated statement that while the first Velvet Underground album may have sold only 30,000 copies in its early years, "everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band." Andy Warhol managed the Velvet Underground and it was the house band at his studio, the Factory, and his Exploding Plastic Inevitable events. The provocative lyrics of some of the band's songs gave a nihilistic outlook to some of their music. Their 1967 debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico (which featured German singer Nico, with whom the band collaborated), was named the 13th Greatest Album of All Time, and the "most prophetic rock album ever made" by Rolling Stone in 2003.[2][3] In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the band No. 19 on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time".[4] The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, by Patti Smith. History Pre-career (1964–1965) The foundations for what would become the Velvet Underground were laid in late 1964. Singer/guitarist Lou Reed had performed with a few short-lived garage bands and had worked as a songwriter for Pickwick Records (Reed described his tenure there as being "a poor man's Carole King").[5] Reed met John Cale, a Welshman who had moved to the United States to study classical music upon securing a scholarship. Cale had worked with experimental
  17. 17. The Velvet Underground composers Cornelius Cardew and La Monte Young but was also interested in rock music. Young's use of extended drones would be a profound influence on the band's early sound. Cale was pleasantly surprised to discover that Reed's experimentalist tendencies were similar to his own: Reed sometimes used alternative guitar tunings to create a droning sound. The pair rehearsed and performed together; their partnership and shared interests built the path towards what would later become the Velvet Underground. Reed's first group with Cale was The Primitives, a short-lived group assembled to issue budget-priced recordings and support an anti-dance single penned by Reed, "The Ostrich", to which Cale added a viola passage. Reed and Cale recruited Sterling Morrison—a college classmate of Reed's at Syracuse University—as a replacement for Walter De Maria, who had been a third member of The Primitives. Morrison played the guitar, and Angus MacLise joined on percussion to complete the four-member unit. This quartet was first called The Warlocks, then The Falling Spikes. The Velvet Underground by Michael Leigh was a contemporary pulp paperback about the secret sexual subculture of the early 1960s that Cale's friend Tony Conrad showed the group. MacLise made a suggestion to adopt the title as the band's name. According to Reed and Morrison, the group liked the name, considering it evocative of "underground cinema", and fitting, as Reed had already written "Venus in Furs", a song inspired by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's book of the same name, which dealt with masochism. The band immediately and unanimously adopted the Velvet Underground as its new name in November 1965. Early stages (1965–1966) The newly named Velvet Underground rehearsed and performed in New York City. Their music was generally much more relaxed than it would later become: Cale described this era as reminiscent of beat poetry, with MacLise playing gentle "pitter and patter rhythms behind the drone".[6] In July 1965, Reed, Cale and Morrison recorded a demo tape at their Ludlow Street loft. When he briefly returned to Britain, Cale attempted to give a copy of the tape to Marianne Faithfull,[7] hoping she'd pass it on to Mick Jagger. Nothing ever came of the demo, but it was eventually released on the 1995 box set Peel Slowly and See. Manager and music journalist Al Aronowitz arranged for the group's first paying gig—$75 to play at Summit High School, in Summit, New Jersey, opening for The Myddle Class. When the group decided to take the gig, MacLise left the group, protesting what he considered a sellout. "Angus was in it for art", Morrison reported. MacLise was replaced by Maureen "Mo" Tucker, the younger sister of Morrison's friend Jim Tucker. Tucker's abbreviated drum kit was rather unusual: she generally played on tom toms and an upturned bass drum, using mallets as often as drumsticks, and she rarely used cymbals. (The band having asked her to do something unusual, she turned her bass drum on its side and played standing up. When her drums were stolen from one club, she replaced them with garbage cans, brought in from outside.) Her rhythms, at once simple and exotic (influenced by the likes of Babatunde Olatunji and Bo Diddley records), became a vital part of the group's music. The group earned a regular paying gig at the Café Bizarre and gained an early reputation as a promising ensemble. Andy Warhol and the Exploding Plastic Inevitable (1966–1967) Andy Warhol became the band's manager in 1965 and suggested they feature the German-born singer Nico on several songs. Warhol's reputation helped the band gain a higher profile. Warhol helped the band secure a coveted recording contract with MGM's Verve Records, with himself as nominal "producer", and gave the Velvets free rein over the sound they created. During their stay with Andy Warhol, the band became part of his multimedia roadshow, Exploding Plastic Inevitable, for which they provided the music. They played shows for several months in New York City, then traveled throughout the United States and Canada until its last installment in May 1967. The show included 16 mm film projections and colors by Warhol. Early promo posters referred to the group as the "erupting plastic inevitable". This soon changed to "the exploding plastic inevitable". 14
  18. 18. The Velvet Underground In 1966, MacLise temporarily rejoined the Velvet Underground for a few EPI shows when Reed was suffering from hepatitis and unable to perform. For these appearances, Cale sang and played organ and Tucker switched to bass guitar. Also at these appearances, the band often played an extended jam they had dubbed "Booker T", after musician Booker T. Jones; the jam later became the music for "The Gift" on White Light/White Heat. Some of these performances have been released as a bootleg; they remain the only record of MacLise with the Velvet Underground. In December 1966, Warhol and David Dalton designed Issue 3 of the multimedia Aspen. Included in this issue of the "magazine", which retailed at $4 per copy and was packaged in a hinged box designed to look like Fab laundry detergent, were various leaflets and booklets, one of which was a commentary on rock and roll by Lou Reed, another an EPI promotional newspaper. Also enclosed was a 2-sided flexi disk, side one produced by Peter Walker, a musical associate of Timothy Leary, and side two titled "Loop", credited to the Velvet Underground but actually recorded by Cale alone. "Loop", a recording solely of pulsating audio feedback culminating in a locked groove, was "a precursor to [Reed's] Metal Machine Music", say Velvets archivists M.C. Kostek and Phil Milstein in the book, The Velvet Underground Companion. "Loop" also predates much industrial music as well. More significantly, from a retail standpoint, "Loop" was the group's first commercially available recording as the Velvet Underground. The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967) At Warhol's insistence, Nico sang with the band on three songs of their debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico. The album was recorded primarily in Scepter Studios in New York City during April 1966. (Some songs were re-recorded, along with the new song "Sunday Morning", later in the year with Tom Wilson producing). It was released by Verve Records in March 1967. The album cover is famous for its Warhol design: a yellow banana sticker with "Peel slowly and see" printed near the tip. Those who did remove the banana skin found a pink, peeled banana beneath. Eleven songs showcased their dynamic range, veering from the pounding attacks of "I'm Waiting for the Man" and "Run Run Run", the droning "Venus in Furs" and "Heroin", the chiming and celestial "Sunday Morning" to the quiet "Femme Fatale" and the tender "I'll Be Your Mirror", as well as Warhol's own favorite song of the group, "All Tomorrow's Parties". Kurt Loder would later describe "All Tomorrow's Parties" as a "mesmerizing gothic-rock masterpiece".[] The overall sound was propelled by Reed and Nico's deadpan vocals, Cale's droning viola, Morrison's often rhythm and blues– or country-influenced guitar, and Tucker's simple but steady beat. Another distinct feature on many songs was the "drone strum", an eighth-note rhythm guitar style used by Reed. The album was released on March 12, 1967, peaking at No. 171 on Billboard magazine's Top 200 charts. The promising commercial debut of the album was dampened somewhat by legal complications: the album's back cover featured a photo of the group playing live with another image projected behind them; the projected image was a still of actor Eric Emerson from a Warhol motion picture, Chelsea Girls. Emerson had been arrested for drug possession and, desperate for money, claimed the still had been included on the album without his permission (in the image, his face appears quite big, but upside down). MGM Records pulled all copies of the album until the legal problems were settled (by which time the record had lost its modest commercial momentum), and the still was airbrushed out. White Light/White Heat (1968) Nico moved on after the band severed its relationship with Andy Warhol. In September 1967, the Velvet Underground began recording their second album, White Light/White Heat, with Tom Wilson as producer. The Velvet Underground performed live often, and their performances became louder, harsher and often featured extended improvisations. Cale reports that at about this time the Velvet Underground was one of the first groups to receive an endorsement from Vox. The company pioneered a number of special effects, which the Velvet Underground utilized on the album. 15
  19. 19. The Velvet Underground Sterling Morrison offered the following input regarding the recording: There was fantastic leakage 'cause everyone was playing so loud and we had so much electronic junk with us in the studio—all these fuzzers and compressors. Gary Kellgren, who is ultra-competent, told us repeatedly: "You can't do it—all the needles are on red." and we reacted as we always reacted: "Look, we don't know what goes on in there and we don't want to hear about it. Just do the best you can." And so the album is fuzzy, there's all that white noise...we wanted to do something electronic and energetic. We had the energy and the electronics, but we didn't know it couldn't be recorded...what we were trying to do was really fry the tracks. The recording was raw and oversaturated. Cale has stated that while the debut had some moments of fragility and beauty, White Light/White Heat was "consciously anti-beauty." The title track and first song starts things off with John Cale pounding on the piano like Jerry Lee Lewis. It was later included in the repertoire of David Bowie. Despite the dominance of noisefests like "Sister Ray" and "I Heard Her Call My Name", there was room for the darkly comic "The Gift", a short story written by Reed and narrated by Cale in his deadpan Welsh accent. The meditative "Here She Comes Now" was later covered by Galaxie 500, Cabaret Voltaire, and Nirvana, among others. The album was released on January 30, 1968, entering the Billboard Top 200 chart for two weeks, at number 199. However, tensions were growing: the group was tired of receiving little recognition for its work, and Reed and Cale were pulling the Velvet Underground in different directions. The differences showed in the last recording session the band had with John Cale in February 1968: two pop-like songs in Reed's direction ("Temptation Inside Your Heart" and "Stephanie Says") and a viola-driven drone in Cale's direction ("Hey Mr. Rain"). (None of these songs were released until they were included on the VU and Another View compilation albums.) Further, some songs the band had performed with Cale in concert, or that he had co-written, were not recorded until after he had left the group (such as "Walk It and Talk It", "Guess I'm Falling in Love", "Ride into the Sun", and "Countess from Hong Kong"). The Velvet Underground (1969) Before work on their third album started, Cale was eased out of the band and was replaced by Doug Yule of Boston group the Grass Menagerie, who had been a close associate of the band. The Velvet Underground was recorded in late 1968 (released in March 1969). The cover photograph was taken by Billy Name. The LP sleeve was designed by Dick Smith, then a staff artist at MGM/Verve. Released on March 12, 1969, the album failed to make Billboard's Top 200 album chart. It has often been reported that before Cale's departure there was a struggle between his creative impulses and Reed's: Cale's experimentalist tendencies had contrasted with Reed's more conventional approach. According to Tim Mitchell, however, Morrison reported that though there was creative tension between Reed and Cale its impact has been exaggerated over the years.[8] In any case, the harsh, abrasive tendencies on the first two records were almost entirely absent on their third album. This resulted in a gentler sound influenced by folk music, prescient of the songwriting style that would form Reed's solo career. Another factor in the change of sound was the band's Vox amplifiers and assorted fuzzboxes being stolen from an airport while they were on tour. In addition, Reed and Morrison had purchased matching Fender 12-string electric guitars. Doug Yule plays down the influence of the new equipment, however. Morrison's ringing guitar parts and Yule's melodic bass guitar and harmony vocals are featured prominently on the album. Reed's songs and singing are subdued and confessional, and he shared lead vocals with Yule, particularly when his own voice would fail under stress. Doug Yule sang the lead vocal on "Candy Says" (about the Warhol superstar Candy Darling), which opens the LP, and a rare Maureen Tucker vocal is featured on "After Hours", which closes the album. It is a song that Reed said was so innocent and pure he couldn't possibly sing it himself. The album's influence can be heard in many later indie rock and lo-fi recordings. 16
  20. 20. The Velvet Underground Year on the road and the "lost" fourth album (1969) The Velvet Underground spent much of 1969 on the road, feeling they were not accepted in their hometown of New York City and not making much headway commercially. The live album 1969: The Velvet Underground Live was recorded in October 1969 and released in 1974 on Mercury Records at the urging of rock critic Paul Nelson, who worked in A&R for Mercury at the time. Nelson asked singer-songwriter Elliott Murphy to write liner notes for the double album which began, "I wish it was a hundred years from today..." During the same year, the band recorded on and off in the studio, creating a lot of material that was never officially released due to disputes with their record label. What many consider the prime of these sessions was released many years later as VU. This album has a transitional sound between the whisper-soft third album and the pop-rock songs of their final record, Loaded. The rest of the recordings, as well as some alternate takes, were bundled on Another View. After Reed's departure, he later reworked a number of these songs for his solo records ("Stephanie Says", "Ocean", "I Can't Stand It", "Lisa Says", "She's My Best Friend"). Loaded (1970) By 1969 the MGM and Verve record labels had been losing money for several years. A new president, Mike Curb, was hired. Curb decided to purge the labels of their many controversial and unprofitable acts. The drug or hippie-related bands were released from MGM, and the Velvets were on his list, along with Eric Burdon and the Animals and Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. Nonetheless MGM insisted on retaining ownership of all master tapes of their recordings. Atlantic Records signed the Velvet Underground for what would be its final studio album with Lou Reed: Loaded, released on Atlantic's subsidiary label Cotillion. The album's title refers to Atlantic's request that the band produce an album "loaded with hits". Though the record was not the smash hit the company had anticipated, it contains the most accessible pop the VU had performed, and several of Reed's best-known songs, including "Sweet Jane" and "Rock and Roll." Although Tucker had temporarily retired from the group due to her pregnancy, she received a performance credit on Loaded. The drums were actually played by several people, including Doug Yule, engineer Adrian Barber, session musician Tommy Castanaro, and Yule's brother Billy, who was still in high school at the time. Disillusioned with the lack of progress the band was making and pressured by manager Steve Sesnick, Reed decided to quit the band in August 1970. The band essentially dissolved while recording the album, and Reed walked off just before it was finished. Lou Reed has often said he was completely surprised when he saw Loaded in stores. He also said, "I left them to their album full of hits that I made". However, Reed was perturbed about a verse being edited from the Loaded version of "Sweet Jane". "New Age" was changed as well: as originally recorded, its closing line ("It's the beginning of a new age") was repeated many more times. A brief interlude in "Rock and Roll" was also removed. (For the 1995 box set Peel Slowly and See, the album was presented as Reed intended; the "Fully Loaded" two-disc edition also features the full versions of "Sweet Jane" and "New Age".) On the other hand, Yule has pointed out that the album was to all intents and purposes finished when Reed left the band and that Reed had been aware of most, if not all, of the edits. The few weeks between Reed's departure in late August and Loaded's arrival in the shops in September of the same year also would have left little room for the whole process of editing, reviewing, mastering and pressing.[citation needed] 17
  21. 21. The Velvet Underground The Doug Yule years (1970–1973) Even though Loaded's spin-off single "Who Loves the Sun" had little success, "Sweet Jane" and "Rock and Roll" became U.S. radio favorites,[citation needed] and the band, featuring Walter Powers on bass, with Doug Yule taking over lead vocals and guitar, went on the road once more, playing the U.S. East Coast and Europe. By that time, however, Sterling Morrison had obtained a B.A. degree in English, and left the group to pursue a Ph.D. in medieval literature at the University of Texas at Austin. His replacement was singer/keyboard player Willie Alexander. The band played shows in England, Wales, and the Netherlands, some of which are collected on the 2001 box set Final V.U. In 1972 Atlantic released Live at Max's Kansas City, a live bootleg of the Velvet Underground's final performance with Reed, recorded by fan Brigid Polk on August 23, 1970. Meanwhile, the Doug Yule-fronted version of the band was touring the United Kingdom when Sesnick managed to secure a recording contract with Polydor Records in England. He then allegedly sent Tucker, Powers and Alexander back to the US (effectively ending their tenures with the group) while Yule recorded the album Squeeze under the Velvet Underground name virtually by himself, with only the assistance of Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice and a few other session musicians. Prior to the release of Squeeze, a new Velvet Underground lineup was assembled to tour the UK to promote the upcoming album. This version of the Velvet Underground consisted of Yule, Rob Norris on guitar, George Kay (Krzyzewski), bass guitar, and Mark Nauseef, drums. Sesnick left the band shortly before the tour started, and Yule left when the brief tour ended in December 1972. Squeeze was released a few months later in February 1973, in Europe only. The album is generally held in low regard by fans and critics: Stephen Thomas Erlewine notes that the album received "uniformly terrible reviews" upon initial release, and was often "deleted" from official V.U. discographies.[9] Post-VU developments (1972–1990) Reed, Cale and Nico teamed up at the beginning of 1972 to play a concert in Paris at the Bataclan club. This concert was bootlegged, and finally received an official release as Le Bataclan '72 in 2003. Before that, Cale and Nico had developed solo careers. Nico had also begun a solo career with Cale producing a majority of her albums. Reed started his solo career in 1972 after a brief sabbatical. Sterling Morrison was a professor for some time, teaching Medieval Literature at the University of Texas at Austin, then became a tugboat captain in Houston for several years. Maureen Tucker raised a family before returning to small-scale gigging and recording in the 1980s; Morrison was in a number of touring bands, among others with Tucker's band. Although Yule had theoretically put an end to the Velvet Underground in late 1972, in the spring of 1973 a band featuring him, Billy Yule on drums, Kay on bass and Don Silverman, guitar (he later changed his name to Noor Khan), played the New England bar circuit, and was billed as "The Velvet Underground" by the tour's manager. The band members objected to the billing, and in late May 1973, the band and the tour manager parted ways. Yule subsequently toured with Lou Reed and played on the latter's Sally Can't Dance album, became a member of American Flyer, then dropped out of the music industry altogether before reappearing in the early 2000s. In 1985 Polydor released the album VU, which collected unreleased recordings that might have constituted the band's fourth album for MGM in 1969 but had never been released. Some of the songs had been recorded when Cale was still in the band. More unreleased recordings of the band, some of them demos and unfinished tracks, were released in 1986 as Another View. On July 18, 1988, Nico died of a cerebral hemorrhage following a bicycle accident. Czech dissident playwright Václav Havel was a fan of the Velvet Underground, ultimately becoming a friend of Lou Reed. Though some attribute the name of the 1989 "Velvet Revolution", which ended more than 40 years of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia, to the band, Reed points out that in fact the name Velvet Revolution derives from its peaceful nature—that no one was "actually hurt" during those events.[10] Reed has also given at least one radio 18
  22. 22. The Velvet Underground interview where he stated that it was called the Velvet Revolution because all of the dissidents were listening to the Velvet Underground leading up to the overthrow, and this music was an inspiration for the events that followed. After Havel's election as president, first of Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic, Reed visited him in Prague.[11] On September 16, 1998, at Havel's request, Reed performed in the White House at a state dinner in Havel's honor hosted by President Bill Clinton.[12] Reunions (1990–2013) In 1990, Reed and Cale released Songs for Drella, dedicated to the recently deceased Andy Warhol. ("Drella" was a nickname Warhol had been given, a combination of "Dracula" and "Cinderella".) Though Morrison and Tucker had each worked with Reed and Cale since the V.U. broke up, Songs for Drella was the first time the pair had worked together in decades, and rumors of a reunion began to circulate, fueled by the one-off appearance by Reed, Cale, Morrison and Tucker to play "Heroin" as the encore to a brief Songs for Drella set in Jouy-en-Josas, France. The Reed–Cale–Morrison–Tucker lineup officially reunited as "The Velvet Underground" in 1992, commencing activities with a European tour beginning in Edinburgh on June 1, 1993, and featuring a performance at Glastonbury which garnered an NME front cover. Cale sang most of the songs Nico had originally performed. As well as headlining (with Luna as the opening act), the Velvets performed as supporting act for five dates of U2's Zoo TV Tour. With the success of the Velvet Underground's European reunion tour, a series of US tour dates were proposed, as was an MTV Unplugged broadcast, and possibly even some new studio recordings. However, before any of this could come to fruition, Cale and Reed fell out again, breaking up the band once more. On August 30, 1995, Sterling Morrison died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma after returning to his hometown of Poughkeepsie, New York, at age 53. When the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, Lou Reed and John Cale reformed the Velvet Underground for the last time, with Maureen Tucker in tow. Doug Yule was absent. At the ceremony, the band was inducted by singer/poet Patti Smith, and the trio performed "Last Night I Said Goodbye to My Friend", written in tribute to Morrison. In December 2009, to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the band's formation, Reed, Tucker and Yule (with Cale not present) gave a rare interview at the New York Public Library. The Velvet Underground continues to exist as a New York–based partnership managing the financial and back catalog aspects for the band members. In January 2012, the surviving members of the band initiated legal action against the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts over unauthorised use of the debut album's banana design. On October 27, 2013, Lou Reed died at his home in Southampton, New York, aged 71. He had undergone a liver transplant in April 2013 and said he was feeling "bigger and stronger" than ever.[13] His physician Charles Miller noted that Reed "was fighting right up to the very end. He was doing his Tai Chi exercises within an hour of his death, trying to keep strong and keep fighting."[14] John Cale responded to Reed's passing by saying "The world has lost a fine songwriter and poet…I've lost my 'school-yard buddy'". 19
  23. 23. The Velvet Underground 20 Legacy The Velvet Underground have been considered among the most influential bands in rock history. Their legacy has stretched into alternative and experimental rock. Their first four albums were included in Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. They were ranked the 19th greatest artist by the same magazine and the 24th greatest artist in a poll by VH1. In 1996 they were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lineups Year Band Vocals, guitar Recordings Various instruments, vocals Guitar Percussion April–November 1965 Lou Reed John Cale Sterling Morrison Angus MacLise Disc 1 of Peel Slowly and See (1995; minus MacLise) December 1965–September 1968 Lou Reed John Cale Sterling Morrison Maureen Tucker The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967), White Light/White Heat (1968), two tracks on VU (1985), three tracks on Another View (1986), discs 2–3 of Peel Slowly and See (1995) September 1968–August 1970 Lou Reed Doug Yule Sterling Morrison Maureen Tucker The Velvet Underground (1969), Loaded (1970; minus Tucker), Live at Max's Kansas City (1972; minus Tucker), 1969: The Velvet Underground Live (1974), eight tracks on VU (1985), six tracks on Another View (1986), discs 4–5 of Peel Slowly and See (1995), Bootleg Series Volume 1: The Quine Tapes (2001) Vocals, guitar November 1970–August 1971 Doug Yule Vocals, guitar October 1971–December 1971 Doug Yule Bass guitar Walter Powers Bass guitar Guitar Sterling Morrison Keyboards, vocals Drums Maureen Tucker Studio demo of two songs, "She'll Make You Cry" and "Friends" (as yet unreleased) Drums Walter Powers Willie Alexander Maureen Tucker Discs 1–2 and part of disc 4 of Final V.U. 1971-1973 (2001) --- --- --- Squeeze (1973), discs 3–4 of Final V.U. (2001; both with hired hands) Vocals, various instruments January 1972–February 1973 Doug Yule Vocals, guitar Various instruments, vocals June 1990; November 1992–July 1993 Lou Reed John Cale 1996 Lou Reed John Cale 2009 Lou Reed Guitar Sterling Morrison Percussion Live MCMXCIII (1993) Maureen Tucker Doug Yule Maureen Tucker Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony Maureen Tucker Group interview at the New York Public Library
  24. 24. The Velvet Underground Temporary members, additional live and studio musicians • Angus MacLise – sat in on percussion with Tucker switching to bass guitar and Cale and Morrison to lead vocals during a Chicago engagement when Reed was taken ill with hepatitis, June–July 1966. • Henry Flynt – stand-in for Cale for four live dates during September 1966. • Nico – collaborator on vocals with the band on four tracks on The Velvet Underground & Nico and several Exploding Plastic Inevitable engagements, 1966–1967. In addition, about half of the tracks on Nico's 1967 debut LP, Chelsea Girl, feature songs written by and/or featuring Reed, Cale and Morrison. Some of these songs are included on compilations like the Peel Slowly and See box set and the Gold 2-CD set. • Billy Yule – stand-in on drums for a pregnant Tucker on three tracks on Loaded, at the Max's Kansas City 1970 engagement (and on the live album), and the 1973 Boston engagement. • Tommy Castanaro – stand-in on drums for a pregnant Tucker on two tracks on Loaded. • Adrian Barber – stand-in on drums for a pregnant Tucker on a number of tracks on Loaded. • Larry Estridge – tour stand-in (bass guitar) for Walter Powers, June 1971. • Rob Norris (of the Bongos) – tour member (guitar) for the 1972 UK Squeeze tour. • George Kay – tour member (bass guitar) for the 1972 UK Squeeze tour and the 1973 Boston engagement. • Don Silverman – tour member (guitar) for the 1972 UK Squeeze tour. • Mark Nauseef – tour member (drums) for the 1972 UK Squeeze tour. • Ian Paice – session musician (drums) for Squeeze (1973). Discography • • • • • The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967) White Light/White Heat (1968) The Velvet Underground (1969) Loaded (1970) Squeeze (1973) References [1] Richie Unterberger, [ "The Velvet Underground"], Allmusic, accessed April 29, 2007. [2] RS 500 Greatest Albums (http:/ / www. rollingstone. com/ news/ story/ 5938174/ the_rs_500_greatest_albums_of_all_time) November 18, 2003. [3] 13-The Velvet Underground and Nico (http:/ / www. rollingstone. com/ news/ story/ 6597640/ 13_the_velvet_underground) Rolling Stone, November 1, 2003 [4] Julian Casablancas, "The Velvet Underground" (No. 19) (http:/ / www. rollingstone. com/ news/ story/ 5939222/ 19_the_velvet_underground), in "The Immortals: The First Fifty" (http:/ / www. rollingstone. com/ news/ story/ 5939214/ the_immortals_the_first_fifty), Rolling Stone, No. 946 (April 15, 2004), accessed April 29, 2007. [5] David Fricke, liner notes for the Peel Slowly and See box set (Polydor, 1995). [6] Quoted by David Fricke in his liner notes for the Peel Slowly and See box set (Polydor, 1995). [7] John Cale & Victor Bockris What's Welsh For Zen London: Bloomsbury, 1999 [8] Tim Mitchell, Sedition and Alchemy : A Biography of John Cale (2003; London: Peter Owen Publishers, 2004); ISBN 0-7206-1132-6 (10); ISBN 978-0-7206-1132-8 (13); cf. Press release (http:/ / www. xs4all. nl/ ~werksman/ cale/ promo/ press_sedition. html), rpt. xsall.nl (March 2004). [9] Stephen Thomas Erlewine in the Allmusic [ website article on Squeeze] [10] Lou Reed, Havel at Columbia interview: "7: The Velvet Revolution and The Velvet Underground" (http:/ / havel. columbia. edu/ media_panels/ video_window/ ?material=reed& timeline=havel7), accessed April 29, 2007. (See table of contents for "Chapters".) [11] Lou Reed, Havel at Columbia interview: "4: 1990 visit to Prague and the challenges faced by Havel" (http:/ / havel. columbia. edu/ media_panels/ video_window/ ?material=reed& timeline=havel4), accessed April 29, 2007. (See table of contents for "Chapters".) [12] Lou Reed, Havel at Columbia interview: "8: 1998 White House benefit concert" (http:/ / havel. columbia. edu/ media_panels/ video_window/ ?material=reed& timeline=havel8), accessed April 30, 2007 (See table of contents for "Chapters"); cf. "The President and Mrs. Clinton Honor His Excellency V(á)clav Havel, President of the Czech Republic and Mrs. Havlov(á)" (http:/ / clinton2. nara. gov/ WH/ EOP/ First_Lady/ html/ 091598. html), September 16, 1998, accessed April 30, 2007; Transcript of President's Clinton's remarks (http:/ / findarticles. com/ p/ articles/ mi_m2889/ is_n38_v34/ ai_21232237), findarticles.com September 16, 1998, accessed April 30, 2007. 21
  25. 25. The Velvet Underground 22 [13] http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ 2013/ 10/ 28/ arts/ music/ lou-reed-dies-at-71. html?ref=obituaries& _r=0 [14] http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ 2013/ 10/ 28/ arts/ music/ lou-reed-dies-at-71. html?hp External links • The Velvet Underground (http://www.dmoz.org/Arts/Music/Bands_and_Artists/V/ Velvet_Underground,_The//) at the Open Directory Project • The Velvet Underground Web Page (http://olivier.landemaine.free.fr/vu/index.html) • "Style It Takes" (http://www.studio360.org/episodes/2006/06/02) (John Cale on Studio 360 radio program from June 2, 2006); MP3 file; John Cale performing "Style It Takes" (http://www.wnyc.org/stream/ram. py?file=/studio/studio060206d.mp3) (talking about Andy Warhol, the subject of that song). • "Loop" from Issue 3 of Aspen magazine (December 1966) (http://www.ubu.com/aspen/aspen3/audio3.html). The Velvet Underground & Nico The Velvet Underground & Nico Studio album by The Velvet Underground and Nico Released March 12, 1967 Recorded April 1966, Scepter Studios, New York City; May 1966, T.T.G. Studios, Hollywood, California; November 1966, Mayfair Studios, New York City Genre Psychedelic rock, art rock, protopunk Length 48:51 Language English Label Verve Producer Andy Warhol; Tom Wilson The Velvet Underground chronology The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967) White Light/White Heat (1968) Nico chronology The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967) Chelsea Girl (1967) Singles from The Velvet Underground & Nico 1. "All Tomorrow's Parties" Released: July 1966 2. "Sunday Morning" Released: December 1966 Alternative cover The early LP edition with the banana-skin sticker peeled off.
  26. 26. The Velvet Underground & Nico The Velvet Underground & Nico is the debut album by American rock band The Velvet Underground and vocal collaborator Nico. It was originally released in March 1967 by Verve Records. Recorded in 1966 during Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable multimedia event tour, The Velvet Underground & Nico would gain notoriety for its experimentalist performance sensibilities, as well as the focus on controversial subject matter expressed in many of its songs including drug abuse, prostitution, sadism and masochism and sexual deviancy. Though a commercial and critical failure upon release, the record has since become one of the most influential and critically acclaimed rock albums in history, appearing at number thirteen on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time as well as being added to the 2006 National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress.[1] Recording The Velvet Underground & Nico was recorded with the first professional line-up of the Velvet Underground, including Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker. German singer Nico was also featured, having occasionally performed lead vocals for the band at the instigation of their mentor and manager, Andy Warhol. Nico sang lead on three of the album's tracks—"Femme Fatale", "All Tomorrow's Parties" and "I'll Be Your Mirror"—and back-up on "Sunday Morning". In 1966, as the album was being recorded, this was also the line-up for their live performances as a part of Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable. The bulk of the songs that would become The Velvet Underground & Nico were recorded in mid-April, 1966, during a four-day stint at Scepter Studios, a decrepit recording studio in New York City. This recording session was financed by Warhol and Columbia Records' sales executive Norman Dolph, who also acted as an engineer with John Licata. Though exact total cost of the project is unknown, estimates vary from $1,500 to $3,000. Soon after recording, Dolph sent an acetate disc of the recordings to Columbia in an attempt to interest them in distributing the album, but they declined, as did Atlantic Records and Elektra Records. Eventually, the MGM Records-owned Verve Records accepted the recordings with the help of Verve staff producer Tom Wilson, who had recently moved from a job at Columbia. With the affirmation of a label, three of the songs, "I'm Waiting for the Man", "Venus in Furs" and "Heroin", were re-recorded in two days at T.T.G. Studios during a stay in Hollywood later in 1966. When the record's release date was postponed, Wilson brought the band into a New York studio in November 1966 to add a final song to the track listing: the single "Sunday Morning". Production There is some confusion as to who actually produced The Velvet Underground & Nico. Although Andy Warhol was the only formally credited producer, he had very little direct influence or authority over the album beyond paying for the recording sessions. In fact, several other individuals who worked on the album are often mentioned as the album's technical producer. Norman Dolph and John Licata are sometimes attributed to producing the Scepter Studios sessions, considering they were responsible for recording and engineering them (despite the fact that neither of the two were ever mentioned in the original album's credits). Dolph himself, however, admits John Cale as the album's rightful creative producer, as he handled the majority of the album's musical arrangements. And yet, Cale later recalled that it was Tom Wilson who actually produced nearly all the tracks on The Velvet Underground & Nico. "The band never again had as good a producer as Tom Wilson", Cale told an interviewer. "Andy Warhol didn't do anything." However, others cite Warhol's lack of manipulation as a legitimate means of production. Sterling Morrison described Warhol as the album's producer "in the sense of producing a film."[2] Lou Reed further discussed the matter in an interview: 23
  27. 27. The Velvet Underground & Nico He just made it possible for us to be ourselves and go right ahead with it because he was Andy Warhol. In a sense, he really did produce it, because he was this umbrella that absorbed all the attacks when we weren't large enough to be attacked... and as a consequence of him being the producer, we'd just walk in and set up and do what we always did and no one would stop it because Andy was the producer. Of course he didn't know anything about record production—but he didn't have to. He just sat there and said "Oooh, that's fantastic," and the engineer would say, "Oh yeah! Right! It is fantastic, isn't it?" Music "I'm Waiting for the Man" The second track of The Velvet Underground & Nico. The percussive, "barrelhouse"-style piano is heard behind Lou Reed's descriptive lyrics. This sample contains the first verse. Problems playing this file? See media help. "Venus in Furs" The fourth track from The Velvet Underground & Nico. The droning electric viola accompanies the "ostrich"-tuned guitar. This sample contains the second verse. Problems playing this file? See media help. "Heroin" The seventh track from The Velvet Underground & Nico. As the song nears its final crescendo, the percussion quickens and the electric viola produces feedback. Problems playing this file? See media help. Subject matter The Velvet Underground & Nico was notable for its overt descriptions of topics such as drug abuse, prostitution, sadism and masochism and sexual deviancy. "I'm Waiting for the Man" describes a man's efforts to obtain heroin while "Venus in Furs" is a nearly literal interpretation of the nineteenth century novel of the same name (which itself prominently features accounts of BDSM). Heroin details an individual's use of the drug and the experience of feeling its effects. Lou Reed, who wrote the majority of the album's lyrics, never intended to write about such topics for shock value. Reed, a fan of poets and authors such as Raymond Chandler, Nelson Algren, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, and Hubert Selby, Jr., saw no reason why the content in their works couldn't translate well to rock and roll music. An English major who studied for a B.A. at Syracuse University, Reed said in an interview that he thought joining the two (gritty subject matter and music) was "obvious". "That's the kind of stuff you might read. Why wouldn't you listen to it? You have the fun of reading that, and you get the fun of rock on top of it." Though the album's dark subject matter is today considered revolutionary, several of the album's songs are centered on themes more typical of popular music. Certain songs were written by Reed as observations of the members of Andy Warhol's "Factory Superstars". "Femme Fatale" in particular was written about Edie Sedgwick at Warhol's 24
  28. 28. The Velvet Underground & Nico request. "I'll Be Your Mirror", inspired by Nico, is a tender and affectionate song; in stark contrast to a song like "Heroin". A common misperception is that "All Tomorrow's Parties" was written by Reed at Warhol's request (as stated in Victor Bockris and Gerard Malanga's Velvet Underground biography Up-Tight: The Velvet Underground Story). While the song does seem to be another observation of Factory denizens, Reed had written the song (and even recorded a demo version in 1965) before meeting Warhol. Instrumentation and performance Much of the album's sound was conceived by John Cale, who stressed the experimental qualities of the band. Cale, who was influenced greatly by his work with La Monte Young, John Cage and the early Fluxus movement, encouraged the use of alternative ways of producing sound in music. Cale thought his sensibilities meshed well with Lou Reed's, who was already experimenting with alternative tunings. For instance, Reed had "invented" the ostrich guitar tuning for a song he wrote called "The Ostrich" for the short-lived band the Primitives. Ostrich guitar tuning consists of all strings being tuned to the same note. The method was utilized on songs "Venus in Furs" and "All Tomorrow's Parties". Often, the guitars were also tuned down a whole step, which produced a lower, fuller sound that Cale considered "sexy". Cale's viola was used on several of the album's songs, notably "Venus in Furs" and "Black Angel's Death Song". The viola used guitar and mandolin strings, and when played loudly, Cale would liken its sound to that of an airplane engine. Cale's viola technique usually involved drones, or single notes sustained over long periods of time. He would, however, vary his attack, speed, or even add other notes on top to create differing tones while maintaining a consistent pitch. Album cover The album cover for The Velvet Underground & Nico is recognizable for featuring a Warhol print of a banana. Early copies of the album invited the owner to "Peel slowly and see"; peeling back the banana skin revealed a flesh-colored banana underneath. A special machine was needed to manufacture these covers (one of the causes of the album's delayed release), but MGM paid for costs figuring that any ties to Warhol would boost sales of the album. Most reissued vinyl editions of the album do not feature the peel-off sticker; the original copies of the album with the peel-sticker feature are now rare collector's items. A Japanese re-issue LP in the early 1980s was the only re-issue version to include the banana sticker for many years. On the 1996 CD reissue, the banana image is on the front cover while the image of the peeled banana is on the inside of the jewel case, beneath the CD itself. The album was re-pressed onto heavyweight vinyl in 2008 and this edition also features the banana sticker. Back cover lawsuit When the album was first issued, the main back cover photo (taken at an Exploding Plastic Inevitable performance) featured an image of actor Eric Emerson projected upside-down on the wall behind the band. Emerson threatened to sue over this unauthorized use of his image, unless he was paid. Rather than complying, MGM recalled copies of the album and halted its distribution until Emerson's image could be airbrushed from the photo on subsequent pressings. Copies that had already been printed were sold with a large black sticker covering the actor's image. The image was restored for the 1996 CD reissue. Front cover lawsuit In January 2012, the "Velvet Underground" business partnership (of which John Cale and Lou Reed are general partners) sued The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York after the Foundation licensed the cover's banana design to Incase Designs for use on a line of iPhone and iPad cases. The partnership's complaint contained four claims: one involving copyright law, and three relating to trademark law. 25
  29. 29. The Velvet Underground & Nico 26 Alleging that the Foundation had earlier claimed it "may" own the design's copyright, the partnership asked the court for a declaratory judgment that the Foundation did not have such rights. In response, the Foundation gave the partnership a "Covenant Not to Sue" — a written and binding promise that, even if the partnership and certain other parties continued to use the design commercially, the Foundation would never invoke its professed copyright ownership against them in court. On the Foundation's motion, Judge Alison J. Nathan severed and dismissed from the lawsuit the partnership's copyright claim. According to Judge Nathan, the Constitution allows federal courts to decide only "Cases" or "Controversies", which means ongoing or imminent disputes over legal rights, involving concrete facts and specific acts, that require court intervention in order to shield the plaintiff from harm or interference with its rights. The judge held that the partnership's complaint fell short of that standard because even if the Foundation continued to claim ownership of the design's copyright — and even if its claim was invalid — that claim would not legally harm the partnership or prevent it from making its own lawful uses of the design. The partnership did not claim that it owned the design's copyright, only that the Foundation did not. Since, according to the court, the Foundation promised not to sue the partnership for any "potentially copyright-infringing uses of the Banana Design", the partnership could continue using the design and there would be no legal action that the Foundation could take (under copyright law[3]) to stop it. And if, the court concluded, the partnership could continue with business as usual (as far as copyright was concerned) regardless of whether the Foundation actually owned the design's copyright, a court decision would have no practical consequences for the partnership; it would be a purely academic (or "advisory") opinion, which federal courts may not issue. The court therefore dismissed the partnership's request that it resolve whether the Foundation owned the design's copyright. The remaining trademark claims were settled out of court with a confidential agreement, and the partnership's suit was dismissed in late May 2013. Reception and sales Professional ratings Review scores Source Rating Allmusic BBC Music (positive) Chicago Tribune Robert Christgau A Encyclopedia of Popular Music Pitchfork Media 10.0/10 PopMatters (positive) [4] The Rolling Stone Album Guide Piero Scaruffi (9/10) Sputnikmusic 4.5/5 Upon its original release, The Velvet Underground & Nico was largely unsuccessful by popular music standards and was a financial failure. The controversial content of the album led to its almost instantaneous ban from various record stores. Many radio stations refused to play the album and magazines refused to carry advertisements for it. Its lack of success can also be attributed to Verve, who failed to promote or distribute the album with anything but modest attention. However, Richie Unterberger of allmusic also notes that:
  30. 30. The Velvet Underground & Nico ... the music was simply too daring to fit onto commercial radio; "underground" rock radio was barely getting started at this point, and in any case may well have overlooked the record at a time when psychedelic music was approaching its peak. The album first entered the Billboard album charts on May 13, 1967 at number 199 and left the charts on June 10, 1967 at number 195. It then re-entered the charts on November 18, 1967 at number 182, peaked at number 171 on December 16, 1967 and finally left the charts on January 6, 1968 at number 193. When Verve recalled the album in June due to Eric Emerson's lawsuit, it disappeared from the charts for five months. The critical world also took little notice of the album. One of the few print reviews of the album in 1967 was a mostly positive review in the second issue of Vibrations, a small rock music magazine. The review described the music as "a full-fledged attack on the ears and on the brain" and took note of the dark subject matter to be found in the majority of the song's lyrics. It was not until a decade later that the album started to receive almost unanimous praise by numerous rock critics, many of whom made particular note of its influence in modern rock music. Robert Christgau in his 1977 retrospective review of 1967 said "it never stops getting better". In The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (1998), Colin Larkin called it a "powerful collection" that "introduced Reed's decidedly urban infatuations, a fascination for street culture and amorality bordering on voyeurism." In April 2003, Spin led their "Top Fifteen Most Influential Albums of All Time" list with the album. On November 12, 2000, NPR included it in their "NPR 100" series of "the most important American musical works of the 20th century". Rolling Stone placed it at number 13 on their list of the 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time in November 2003 calling it the most prophetic rock album ever made. In 1997, Velvet Underground & Nico was named the 22nd greatest album of all time in a Music of the Millennium [5] poll conducted in the United Kingdom by HMV Group, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM. In his 1995 book, The Alternative Music Almanac, Alan Cross placed the album in the number 1 spot on the list of "10 Classic Alternative Albums". In 2006, Q magazine readers voted it into 42nd place in the "2006 Q Magazine Readers' 100 Greatest Albums Ever" poll, while The Observer placed it at number 1 in a list of "50 Albums That Changed Music" in July of that year. Also in 2006, the album was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best albums of all time. Aftermath Frustrated by the album's year-long delay and unsuccessful release, Lou Reed's relationship with Andy Warhol grew tense until Reed finally fired Warhol as manager in favor of Steve Sesnick. Nico was also forced out of the group, and began a moderately successful career as a solo artist, releasing her debut solo album, Chelsea Girl, in October 1967. Chelsea Girl features five songs written by members of the Velvet Underground, including "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams", a song Reed had written and recorded earlier with the aid of John Cale and Sterling Morrison in 1965. Tom Wilson continued working with the group through 1967, producing their 1968 album White Light/White Heat and Nico's Chelsea Girl. Track listing All songs written and composed by Lou Reed unless otherwise noted. 27
  31. 31. The Velvet Underground & Nico 28 Side one No. Title Writer(s) 1. "Sunday Morning" Reed, Cale Length 2:54 2. "I'm Waiting for the Man" 4:39 3. "Femme Fatale" 2:38 4. "Venus in Furs" 5:12 5. "Run Run Run" 4:22 6. "All Tomorrow's Parties" 6:00 Side two No. Title Writer(s) Length 7. "Heroin" 7:12 8. "There She Goes Again" 2:41 9. "I'll Be Your Mirror" 2:14 10. "The Black Angel's Death Song" Reed, Cale 3:11 11. "European Son" 7:46 Reed, Cale, Morrison, Tucker Album reissues Compact disc The first CD edition of the album was released in 1986 and featured slight changes. The title of the album was featured on the cover, unlike the original LP release. In addition, the album contained an alternate mix of "All Tomorrow's Parties" which featured a single track of lead vocals as opposed to the double-tracked vocal version on the original LP. Apparently, the decision to use the double-tracked version on the original LP was made at the last minute. Bill Levenson, who was overseeing the initial CD issues of the VU's Verve/MGM catalog, wanted to keep the single-voice version a secret as a surprise to fans, but was dismayed to find out that the alternate version was revealed as such on the CD's back cover (and noted as "previously unreleased").[6] The subsequent 1996 remastered CD reissue removed these changes, keeping the original album art and mixes found on the LP. Peel Slowly and See box set The Velvet Underground & Nico was released in its entirety on the five-year spanning box set, Peel Slowly and See, in 1995. The album was featured on the second disc of the set along with the single version of "All Tomorrow's Parties", two Nico tracks from Chelsea Girl and a ten minute excerpt of the 45-minute "Melody Laughter" performance. Also included in the set (on the first disc) are the band's 1965 Ludlow Street loft demos. Among these demos are early versions of "Venus in Furs", "Heroin", "I'm Waiting for the Man" and "All Tomorrow's Parties".