The Velvet Underground

TV Appearances

Moe Tucker on The Making of an Underground Film, 1965

December 31, 1965
CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, CBS, New York, New York

Part (about 55 seconds) of this CBS News report The Making of an Underground Film is about Piero Heliczer's shooting his film Venus In Furs, with the Velvet Underground performing Heroin, Heliczer joining in on saxophone. The report also includes interviews with Jonas Mekas, Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol.

Excerpts are available in :

  • Once Upon A Time In New York (BBC4) [7:09 → 7:20]
  • Seven Ages of Rock | White Light, White Heat | Art Rock 1966-1980 (BBC) [13:03 → 13:12]

This report including the earliest known footage of the Velvet Underground is released in its entirety (6:04) on DVD in February 2014 with pre-ordered copies of Boo-Hooray's Piero Heliczer & The Dead Language Press.

January 30, 1966
David Susskind's Open End, WNTA-TV, New York, New York

The Velvet Underground appears on David Susskind's television show. John Wilcock reports this event in detail, in Other Scenes, in East Village Other, February 15, 1966 (p. 4). At the bottom of the accompanying photograph, in which Cale and Malanga are clearly visible, the caption identifes the event as "Barbara Rubin, The Uptight Series."

Another, lesser-known, activity within the Up-Tight series reveals the group’s interest in intervening in the mass media as one of the exemplary sites of bourgeois ideology. Instead of a concert this involved a disruptive and chaotic appearance by Warhol, Rubin, and members of the Velvet Underground and the East Village band The Fugs on David Susskind’s television program. During the course of the show, Rubin and Danny Williams’s filming, Ed Saunders's political advocacy of oral-genital relations, and Cale's languid caressing of Malanga with a cattle whip, caused the TV host to angrily lose his cool. Halfway through the taping, as Wilcock reported, "Susskind is getting rattled. The roving cameramen, the disorderly group, the smell of pot, the occasional clicks, shrieks and catcalls from Barbara are apparently so much more than he expected." Halfway through the taping Susskind and his staff abruptly decided to cancel the second hour of the program.
[in My Mind Split Open: Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable by Branden W. Joseph]

Also listen to a recording of Callie Angell's introduction to the Andy Warhol film Uptight #3 -- David Susskind, before its screening at The 7th Orphan Film Symposium: Moving Pictures Around the World on April 9, 2010.

March 8, 1966
USA Artists Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, WNET-TV (channel 13), New York, New York

"Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein" was one of a nine-part series USA Artists made for NET (National Educational Television, the precursor to PBS) produced and directed by Lane Slate. Narrator is Alan Solomon.

Andy Warhol introduces the Velvet Underground, and the band plays Venus In Furs and Heroin.

The Warhol part of the show was probably shot on the eve of Up-tight at the Filmmaker's Cinematheque in New York City. The Paley Center for Media mentions a March 8, 1966 8PM broadcast. The date is confirmed in the Television Archive of the Arts (dated January 18, 1967).

The program was officially available as video stream at video thirteen, but seems no longer available. Andy Warhol's band intro is officialy available in the Aussie What Goes On 3-CD box set, and both songs appears on several bootlegs. Lou Reed | Rock And Roll Heart video/DVD offers also part of the WNET stuff.

April 1, 1967
EPI at RISD, WJAR-TV, Rhode Island and Bristol County, Massachusetts

Listed in "The 7th Orphan Film Symposium: Moving Pictures Around the World" program.
Orphan 7 A film Symposium

According to a contact at Oddball Film, "it's not EPI, it's a very short clip of (Andy) Warhol and (Gerard) Malanga being interviewed about EPI. There is no music or anything else on the clip, It's about 2-3 minutes long."

July 8, 1967
Upbeat, WEWS-TV (channel 5), Cleveland, Ohio

Velvet Underground appearance with Guess I'm Falling In Love performance. Upbeat was a syndicated musical variety show hosted by Don Webster and produced in Cleveland OH at ABC affiliate WEWS-TV.

Announced in:

  • The Plain Dealer (Cleveland OH) "TV Week" magazine, July 7, 1967
  • The Plain Dealer (Cleveland OH) TV listings, July 8, 1967

The show is also listed in NYC (NY Metro TV Guide), July 15, 1967; LA edition TV Guide, July 15, 1967; Cumberland, Maryland newspaper, July 15, 1967; Detroit area TV Guide, July 22, 1967 (WKBD-50, Sat. 9:30am)

"The Velvet Underground (!) were on twice. Jamie Klimek (of the group Mirrors) saw them play many times. "In the period April 67 to March 69, The Velvets played Cleveland 7 times. After and appearance with the EPI at the Public Hall, they returned 5 times to play at La Cave. In early 67 they did Guess I'm Falling in Love (not on LP) on Upbeat! with Cale. On Oct 2 1968 [ed. note: actually Oct 4], the VU came in for another 3 day stand. This marked Doug Yule's first public appearance with the band. They played Run Run Run (from the first LP) with different lyric-live on Upbeat!"
[in Psychotronic #33]

circa May 4, 1968
Upbeat, WEWS-TV (channel 5), Cleveland, Ohio

Velvet Underground appearance with Run Run Run performance.

The show is announced In Chicago Tribune, May 10, 1968, where Robb Baker says: "Channel 32's Upbeat show tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. features The Yardbirds, Bobby Goldsboro, Mary Wells, The Outsiders, Harumi, The McCoys, The Short Kuts, Kim Weston, Bob Francis, and The Velvet Underground."

The show is also listed in NYC (NY Metro TV Guide), May 11, 1968; LA edition TV Guide, May 12, 1968; NY Times, May 11, 1968.

Tony Conrad: "On May 11 [1968], I tape the Velvet Underground actually appearing on TV--at noon on local Ch 5's "Upbeat" with the McCoys, Yarbirds, the Outsiders, and--Harami."
[in Angus MacLise's Brain Damage in Oklahoma City CD liner notes]

Tom Cramer: "The Velvets performed live on the Upbeat TV show in June 1968 (not June 1967). Moreover, contrary to Sterling Morrison's recollection, they performed a blistering, buzzsaw version of Run Run Run. Their rendition of Run Run Run went beyond their alloted time: thus, Upbeat cut away to a commercial while the Velvets were engaged in feedback frenzy with Lou's back to the camera."

January 16, 1970
WLS-TV (channel 7), Chicago, Illinois

In the Chicago Tribune, January 16, 1970: "The Velvet Underground. rock group performs, on channel 7".

June 10, 1972, Pop 2, Antenne 2, France

39 minutes, black & white. The show is presented by Patrice Blanc Francard and includes reports about Robert Wyatt's Matching Mole, Lewis Caroll and 23 minutes devoted to the Reed, Cale & Nico concert at Le Bataclan in Paris, on January 29, 1972. It offers 5 songs filmed by Claude Ventura (Berlin, I'm Waiting For The Man, Heroin, Ghost Story, Femme Fatale) intersected with French journalists discussing. The Pop 2 show has been re-broadcasted on Canal Jimmy cable TV on October 29, 1999

Spring 1986, Arsenal, Catalonian TV3, Spain

Feed Back: The Velvet Underground Story documentary.

April 27, 1986, South Bank Show (series 9, show 23), London Weekend Television, ITV, UK

The Velvet Underground documentary.

August 26, 1990, Canal+, France

Nothing Special documentary.
Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable film.

June 1993, 8 PM News, TF1, France

Brief report (2:04) broadcasted during the 1993 reunion tour, before Paris concerts. It included brief history of the group, Factory era photographs, live excerpts from 1993 concert and interview with John Cale and Sterling Morrison.

August 8, 1993, 120 Minutes, MTV

9 minutes report at the Glastonbury Festival on June 25, 1993. It includes 3-min excerpts of Sweet Jane and Some Kinda Love filmed live in Glastonbury intersected with an interview with Moe Tucker and Sterling Morrison.

December 1993, Peel Slowly And See..., Channel 4, UK

8 hours TV show about the Velvet Underground.
22h05 Introduction, by Deborah Harry
22h10 Curious, documentary
23h15 Velvet Redux MCMXCIII video, concert
0h15 Coyote, live
0h20 The Chelsea Girls, with Denis Leary's introduction
4h20 Songs For Drella
5h20 The Gift, story by Lou Reed, music by The Velvet Underground
5h40 Sunday Morning, archive film by Rosalind Stevenson

1996, The Week In Rock, MTV, USA

Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame induction report with a brief bit of Last Night I Said Goodbye To My Friend, the song dedicated to the late Sterling Morrison (actually just the title and some music).


Thanks: Tom Cramer, Marck Skobac.

by Olivier Landemaine
last modified: February 26, 2023

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