Seeing The Light: Inside The Velvet Underground
by Rob Jovanovic
St. Martin’s Press, 2012
Combine the thought-provoking lyrics of Lou Reed with the creative promoting of Andy Warhol, droning instrumentation of Sterling Morrison, Moe Tucker, and John Cale, and the enigmatic presence of Nico, and you get one of the most influential bands in the history of rock and roll. Nevermind that most rock fans could not name three different Velvet Underground songs. The band’s influence is still felt throughout the landscape of pop music (and pop culture). As such, there are numerous books about the band, the members’ relationships with each other, and the impact they had on groups still active today.
Rob Jovanovic’s volume on the group, Seeing The Light: Inside The Velvet Underground, recounts the formation of the group, how Warhol got involved, and the introduction of Nico to the group. The author touches on the band’s rise to cult status in the 1980s, the all-too-brief reunion and tour with U2 of 1993, and eventual induction into the Rock Hall in 1996. The author treats the reader with insights from the surviving members and some interesting what-could-have-been scenarios, but there is not a lot of new information related to the history of the band. Those who have been fans for a long time will not learn a lot, but newer fans will find this concise biography helpful as they continue to discover the underrated gems of the group’s catalog.