My Music Lexicon: V is for Velvet Underground (and The Ventures)

As a teenager in the late sixties and the beginning of the seventies, the Stones or Led Zeppelin were your go-to sources of vicarious debauchery. But if you wanted to crank it up another notch – to vicarious decadence – then it had to be the Velvet Underground. Narcotics and BDSM: I mean, c’mon.

But the music was damned good, too. Harsh, sometimes atonal, but with pointed contrasts of sweetness,they had most of the bases covered and it’s not hard to hear the original influences of many later groups in the Velvet’s albums.

I was never remotely so daft even to want to sample heroin but, even if I had been, the desperate urgency of ‘Waiting For The Man’ would have put me off.

Honourable Mention

And now for something completely different. From an earlier and – at least ostensibly – a more innocent time there were The Ventures. In the UK if we wanted catchy guitar instrumentals we had to wait for The Shadows when they weren’t having to back that nice young man Cliff Richard. But pre-dating them by a good way, at least in my consciousness, these were the real ground-breakers.

My Music Lexicon


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