Seeing the Light by Rob Jovanovic

48%

5 Critic Reviews

The main problem isn’t Jovanovic’s claim—his argument has been made by others, sometimes even convincingly. It’s that Seeing The Light substitutes overstatement and oversimplification for the qualities it glaringly lacks: authority, access, and depth.
-AV Club

Synopsis

With exclusive new interviews from the band, this is a captivating account of one of the most influential groups in rock history.

Brian Eno famously said “the first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band.” Perhaps no other musicians can claim such limited chart success and so enduring a musical legacy as The Velvet Underground. Artists including David Bowie, The Sex Pistols, Joy Division, Roxy Music, Nirvana, U2, R.E.M., and even dissident Czech playwright and eventual president Václav Havel have cited the Velvets as a major influence.

Seeing the Light presents the untold story of the band. Formed by the mercurial Lou Reed and classically trained Welshman John Cale in the mid-1960s, the band first gained notoriety after being adopted by Andy Warhol. Warhol’s patronage allowed the group to chart unexplored regions of rock ’n’ roll, producing unforgettable and unsettling music that veered from droning, avant-garde experimentalism to folk-infused pop, offering taboo-busting tales of drug addiction, prostitution, and sexual deviance. Creative tensions and frustrated ambition eventually saw both Cale and Reed leave the band, to its ignominious end.

In the decades since, The Velvet Underground’s music has attained classic status, revered alongside The Beatles and The Beach Boys as one of the sources of modern pop. With exclusive new interviews from members Moe Tucker and Doug Yule, as well as the widow of their bandmate Sterling Morrison, journalist Rob Jovanovic peels back the mystique of one of the most important bands in rock history.


 

About Rob Jovanovic

See more books from this Author
Rob Jovanovic is the author of books on Kate Bush, Beck, R.E.M, Pavement, Nirvana, George Michael, and Big Star. He has contributed to such music magazines as Mojo, Q, Level, Record Collector, and Uncut.
 
Published March 27, 2012 by St. Martin's Press. 320 pages
Genres: Arts & Photography, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Seeing the Light
All: 5 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 3

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Jan 02 2012

In this moving tribute and first-rate history, rock journalist Jovanovic gives us an absorbing chronicle of the Velvet Underground’s rise to fame, its bitter arguments, and its unparalleled musical genius.

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Wall Street Journal

Good
Reviewed by David Kirby on Mar 30 2012

Mr. Jovanovic...positions the Velvets in their time by noting how little they had in commonwith the British Invasion...the folk-rock movement led by Bob Dylan, and the new San Francisco sound...the Mamas & the Papas and the Byrds.

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AV Club

Below average
Reviewed by Jason Heller on Mar 28 2012

The main problem isn’t Jovanovic’s claim—his argument has been made by others, sometimes even convincingly. It’s that Seeing The Light substitutes overstatement and oversimplification for the qualities it glaringly lacks: authority, access, and depth.

Read Full Review of Seeing the Light | See more reviews from AV Club

Boston.com

Below average
Reviewed by Mark Shanahan on Apr 04 2012

Even by today’s standards, Reed was a decadent sort, but tales of excess — the drugs, sex, and general amphetamine-fueled scene that was the band’s milieu — are mostly missing.

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Agit Reader

Below average
Reviewed by Stephen Slaybaugh

Similarly, a good editor could have made the difference between the book being a consolation prize for the lack of suitable sources and a definitive annal in the rock canon.

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Reader Rating for Seeing the Light
35%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 5 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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