The "Velvet Underground": Unpeeled
Perhaps no other band can claim such scant chart success and so enduring a musical legacy as The Velvet Underground. Artists including David Bowie, the Sex Pistols, Joy Division, Roxy Music, Nirvana, U2, R.E.M. and dissident Czech playwright and eventual president, Vaclav Havel have all cited the Velvets as a major influence. Yet only two of their albums even scraped Billboard's Top 200. Formed by the mercurial Lou Reed and classically-trained Welshman John Cale, the band first achieved notoriety after being adopted by Andy Warhol, who set himself up as manager and producer and included the Velvets in his Exploding Plastic Inevitable multimedia roadshow. However, much more than a pop art support act, the freedom Warhol's patronage brought enabled the group to chart hitherto unexplored regions of the rock n' roll soundscape, producing unforgettable and unsettling music that veered from droning, avant-garde experimentalism to folk-infused pop, taking in taboo-busting tales of drug addiction, prostitution and sexual deviance along the way.