The Velvet Underground
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The Velvet Underground was an American rock band formed in New York City in 1964 by singer/guitarist Lou Reed, multi-instrumentalist John Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison, and drummer Angus MacLise. MacLise was replaced by Moe Tucker in 1965, who played on most of the band's recordings. The band performed under a number of names before settling on The Velvet Underground in 1965. Pop artist Andy Warhol became their manager in 1966, and they served as the house band at Warhol's art collective known as "the Factory" and Warhol's traveling multimedia show, the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, from 1966 to 1967. Their debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico (with German singer and model Nico), was released in 1967 to critical indifference and poor sales but has since become critically acclaimed; in 2003, Rolling Stone called it the "most prophetic rock album ever made."

The band released three more albums (White Light/White Heat (1968), The Velvet Underground (1969), and Loaded (1970), with Doug Yule replacing Cale for the final two, and with none performing up to the expectations of record labels or of Reed, the band's leader; the group functionally disbanded in 1971–1972 as everyone except Yule left the band. An abortive UK tour with Yule as the band leader and with new musicians followed in 1973, and a final album released in the band's name, Squeeze (1973), consisting mostly of Yule with a few session musicians, marked the end of the band for some time. All of the members continued to collaborate on each other's solo work throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and a retrospective "rarities" album, VU, was released in 1985. A full reunion of the band came in the early 1990s, with the Reed-Cale-Tucker-Morrison lineup playing a series of well-received shows in 1993, and releasing a live album from the tour, Live MCMXCIII. After Morrison's death in 1995, the remaining three members played together for a single performance at their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1996, the last time the band performed together musically.

The band's integration of rock and the avant-garde achieved little commercial success during its existence, but it is now recognized as one of the most influential bands in rock, underground, experimental, and alternative music. The provocative subject matter, musical experiments, and often nihilistic attitudes explored in the band's work proved influential in the development of punk rock and new wave music. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the band No. 19 on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time". In 2017, a study of AllMusic's catalog indicated the Velvet Underground as the fifth most frequently cited artist influence in its database. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 by Patti Smith.

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