David Byrne (Talking Heads) said that rock and roll as he knows it is dead. It may be true that we no longer have the vastly influential music of the 60’s being created, but that music still influences modern rock.
Rock seems to have forgotten its roots. The Velvet Underground were largely commercially unsuccessful at the time during the late 60’s when they were producing music but those with keen ears and eyes for influential art took notice of them.
Other vastly influential artists such as Andy Warhol and Brian Eno connected with the Velvet Underground when it was still beatnik poetry set to music and guided their success.
Warhol opened many doors to the Velvet Underground during his time as their manager, including a record deal with MGM’s Verve Records, and designed the artwork for the album now known as “the banana LP;” a now iconic symbol of 1960’s rock. Eno claimed that the thousand people who bought The Velvet Underground’s album all went on to create bands of their own.
Apparently, many of those bands went on to wild success of their own. The Cure, David Bowie, The Pixies, The Strokes, Interpol, The Cars, Nirvana, and even the Talking Heads were all part of genres that were heavily influenced by the Velvet Underground.
Their umbrella of influence in modern rock is overwhelming. Rock music like the Velvet Underground is timeless, but with so many commercialized, financially driven platitudes parading as rock music streaming through our radios it’s easy to believe that rock has breathed its last breath.
The truth is probably a little more frightening. Rock and Roll is not dead. Music never dies. It has been buried alive by commercialism. But digging into bands like the Velvet Underground is the key to its resurrection.