During the early 1960s, Andy Warhol became an international celebrity when he produced his iconic Pop Art works — 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans, the Marilyn Monroe Diptych, Green Coca Cola Bottles and all of the rest. The provocative artist had achieved more than 15 minutes of fame — he coined that phrase too — and it was time for something new.
In ’65, Warhol took a break from painting, immersed himself in filmmaking and multimedia projects, then threw his influence behind the up-and-coming NYC band, The Velvet Underground. He became the band’s manager and “produced” their first album, which meant designing the album cover and giving the band members (Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Maureen Tucker and Nico) the freedom to make whatever album they pleased. (Lou Reed has more on that here.) As Brian Eno later put it, the album, The Velvet Underground & Nico “only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band.” It was that influential.
The clip above comes from the PBS American Masters series, Andy Warhol – A Documentary Film and tells you more about Warhol’s patronage of VU.