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It was 1967, music was still rather tame for the most part.  Then, out of New York and Andy Warhol’s Factory, burst this band: The Velvet Underground.  It became a major influence on David Bowie, Iggy Pop  and others. 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.  It was one of those albums we had to hide from our parents (I think my dad smashed mine in the garage one day)!

It was a decade later that the album started to receive almost unanimous praise by numerous rock critics. In  2003, Spin led their “Top Fifteen Most Influential Albums of All Time” list with the album.  In 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. Oh yeah.  These people were amazing, and pretty hard core into singing about (and some of living it) drug abuse, prostitution, sadism and masochism and sexual deviancy.

Knowing The Velvets had to be posted was a given.  Choosing the song was really tough.  Here’s one of the better known songs, but I recommend the reader delve into this fine band in depth.  Especially notable is the experimental nature of the music The Velvets played.  Cale and Reed tuned the instruments differently (Reed sometimes tuned his guitar strings all to the same note, and also down a whole step. Cale would play his viola and other strings and layer the tones and speeds.)  The band went though changes of personnel and were active during the years of 1964–1973, 1990, 1992–1994, and 1996 with members  Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Angus MacLise, Maureen Tucker, Doug Yule,Walter Powers and Willie Alexander.

Lou Reed started his solo career in 1971. He’s  been prolific, and is still writing, recording and doing gigs.

More info about The Velvets here.

More info about Lou Reed here.

Heroin (Stereo) - The Velvet Underground & Nico