He may be the theoretically ageless embodiment of New York City music and style — come on Village Voice, is this even a contest? — but Lou Reed very definitely turns 70 today. So, to commemorate his nearly five decades of cultural influence (and also to help us forget about Lulu), we’ve compiled some vintage clips from Reed’s earliest days in the musical spotlight. Five of the best Velvet Underground videos you can find on the Internet — including Andy Warhol’s feature-length film about the band — are after the jump.
This is a fantastic clip for a number of reasons, but we especially like it for the look of pure beatitude on Reed’s face as he strums his guitar. It might be the happiest we’ve ever seen him.
“Venus in Furs”
This isn’t the entire song, or even most of it. What matters here is the pure creative chaos that’s happening — the band spread out across the entire room, the whip, people smoking and dancing. Also, is that the back of Edie Sedgwick’s head we’re seeing?
“Waiting for the Man”
A restrained, almost lounge-y performance in Paris, from 1972.
A clip that makes it seem like, despite her cultural icon status, Nico’s talents as a performer may still be underrated.
The Velvet Underground and Nico: A Symphony of Sound
Andy Warhol’s fascinating — if you’re patient — and typically minimalist document of the band jamming at a rehearsal in 1966. If you can hang on till the end (all four parts are posted on YouTube), there’s quite a kicker.