I was talking to Lou Reed the other day and he said that the first Velvet Underground record sold 30,000 copies in the first five years. . . . I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band!”
While some have cast doubt on those sale figures, it is almost impossible to overestimate the influence the Velvet Underground has had over the years. There are few alternative rock bands who have not been influenced by the Velvets, along with many bands in other genres.
For this last post in my week of sitting shiva for Lou Reed, here are just a few songs from behind the Velvet rope.
With its “he’s gone, he’s gone” refrain, this remix of the title track of Dean Wareham‘s new solo album (his first in a long music career), Emancipated Hearts, makes a fitting eulogy to Reed (though it was released before his death):
Wareham has written his own moving tribute to Reed, as is fitting since all of his bands have excavated the Velvet Underground. Galaxie 500 seemed intent on turning the VU’s third album (the quiet one) into a multi-disc set. Luna opened for the Velvet Underground’s 1993 European reunion tour. Wareham and his wife, Dean and Britta, scored the recent DVD of 13 “Screen Tests,” short films of various visitors to Andy Warhol’s Factory staring into the camera. The soundtrack included their cover of the never (officially) released Velvets’ song “Not a Young Man Anymore.” A live version by the VU themselves will be included in the upcoming “45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition” of their second album, White Light/White Heat).
Many have noted that LCD Soundsystem’s “Drunk Girls” owes quite a bit to “White Light/White Heat”:
Wooden Shjips’ retake, released as the B-side to LCD’s own version on a UK-only single, makes the connection unmistakable:
Finally, Lissy Trullie‘s “Madeleine” captures the comedown after all tomorrow’s parties are over: