The Velvet Underground & Nico & Bowie

BOWIE: “Everything I both felt and didn’t know about rock music was opened to me on one unreleased disc. The first track [“Sunday Morning”] glided by innocuously enough without really registering. However, from that point on and with the opening throbbing sarcastic bass and guitar of ‘I’m Waiting For The Man,’ the linchpin, the keystone of my ambition was driven home. The music was savagely indifferent to my feelings. It didn’t care if I liked it or not. It could give a fuck. It was completely preoccupied by a world as yet unseen by my suburban eyes. In fact, though only nineteen, I had seen rather a lot but had accepted it all quite enthusiastically as ‘a bit of a laugh.’ Apparently, the laughing was over now. This was a degree of cool that I had no idea was humanly sustainable and it was ravishing.” -Mojo, 2002

SPITZ: The Velvet Underground & Nico demonstrated to the nineteen year old [Bowie], as it has to countless bands over the last forty-plus years, where rock music could be taken over. The album demonstrated how a rock lyrics could be literary and vulnerable without compromising toughness (“Heroin”), how it could be sexy or romantic without using hackneyed bedroom come-ons (“I’ll Be Your Mirror,” “Femme Fatale”) and how the avant-garde and the classical could mix to form something exhilarating and sinister without being oblique and alienating (“Venus in Furs”). Plus, the songs were easy to play. They were primal but felt complex. Bowie learned each of them on his twelve-string acoustic guitar […] he encouraged his backing band to do the same.” –Bowie, 2009


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