All Yesterday’s Parties

Books Reviews
All Yesterday’s Parties

The Velvet Underground once played a double bill with Chicago; Lou Reed really liked The Byrds; and Sterling Morrison’s junior high school colors were aqua and gold. These are among the intriguing factoids from this fascinating little time-capsule of a tome. Editor Clinton Heylin (whose previous subjects include Bob Dylan, bootlegs and the history of punk) found slim pickin’s when digging for press from the band’s early days, resulting in a book that documents the birth of rock journalism as much as it presents a cinema verite of the VU’s history in print. From 1966-67, snobbish reports from the dailies viewing the group as some sort of curiosity piece (one reviewer actually compared it to a “malignant tumor”) predominate. But, by 1968-69, ’zines such as Crawdaddy, Rolling Stone and Fusion were born, and the Velvets got more ink: Highlights include illuminating early interviews with Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison and insightful profiles by Lenny Kaye and Lester Bangs. Note to the average reader: be sure to have your Velvet Underground box set handy when thumbing through this book.

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