Most famous for being a member of the Velvet Underground, John Cale OBE Was born 9 March 1942. The Velvet Underground were an American rock band formed in New York City. First active from 1964 to 1973, its best-known members were 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. 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.
Although The Velvet Underground were considered a commercial failure in the late 1960s, they have gained a considerable cult following and have gone on to become one of the most widely cited and influential bands of the era.As the Velvet Underground’s principal songwriter, Lou Reed wrote about subjects of personal experience that rarely had been examined so openly in rock and roll, including sexuality and drug culture. Although the Velvet Underground never achieved great commercial success, their idosyncratic combination of harsh guitars and smooth melodies sung by Reed or the German model Nico proved enduring” Andy Warhol also incorporated the Velvet Underground’s music into his Exploding Plastic Inevitable multimedia events. As a songwriter, Reed broke new ground by writing songs about taboo subjects as S&M, transvestites and transsexuals, prostitution and drug addiction.
The Velvet Underground have long been recognizsd as a major musical influence on punk and art rock, as reflected in a quote often attributed to musician Brian Eno: “The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band. Andy Warhol managed the Velvet Underground and it was the house band at his studio, theFactory, 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. In 2004,Rolling Stone ranked the band No. 19 on its list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, by Patti Smit