August 2, 2006
“While only a few thousand people bought a Velvet Underground record upon their initial release, almost every single one of them was inspired to start a band”, was the remark on the band ‘The Velvet Underground’ by the famous British musician Brian Eno.
So, there is not much doubt that Velvet Underground was one of the most influential bands in the rock history. Though the genre of the band is not clearly defined, they are mostly put into the genre of either experimental-rock or proto-punk. Experimental rock because of the way they pushed the boundaries of so-called normal composition, performance or rock-n-roll sound; and Proto-punk because of their massive influence on the next generation punk bands, though their own sound was not really punk. But, I feel that they fit best into the psychedelic genre, because of the overall mood and experience that one gets when one listens to their music.
The two star members of the rock band were Lou Reed and John Cale. Interestingly, these two had almost completely contrasting creative impulses. While Reed was more on the conventional side, Cale had more of experimental demeanour. In fact, when Cale left the band in late 1968, with that the band lost its harsh, abrasive tendencies – so much so visible in songs like “Heroin”, “Venus in furs”, “White Light White Heat” , “Sister Ray” etc.
There is whole lot of trivia & interpretations with songs like “Venus in furs”, “Sister Ray” and “White Light White Heat” worth reading.
Also, if you look at their songs, their stylistic range is immense. Some of my favourite Velvet Underground songs:
– Venus in furs ; White Light White Heat ; Heroin; Sister Ray
– I ll be your mirror, Pale blue eyes, Take a walk on the wild side, Lisa says
– Rock and roll, Femme fatale, There she goes again, Run run run, Who loves the sun