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White Light/White Heat: The Velvet Underground day-by-day (Genuine Jawbone Books) Paperback – June 1, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richie Unterberger is an acclaimed author and music historian, renowned for his meticulous research. A regular contributor to the All Music website, Mojo, Record Collector and many other publications, he has also written hundreds of liner notes for CD reissues of classic albums of the 1960s and 1970s. His previous books include Unknown Legends of Rock n'n Roll; the two-part 1960s folk-rock history Eight Miles High and Turn! Turn! Turn!; White Light/White Heat: The Velvet Underground Day-By-Day; and The Unreleased Beatles: Music and Film, which won a 2007 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research.


Product Details

  • Series: Genuine Jawbone Books
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Jawbone Press; Original edition (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906002223
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906002220
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.9 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #498,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richie Unterberger has been writing about little-known and well-known rock and popular music of all kinds for more than 25 years. Of his eleven books, the most recent "Won't Get Fooled Again: The Who from Lifehouse to Quadrophenia,"" published by Jawbone Press in March 2011. It details the Who's amazing and peculiar journey in the years during the early 1970s in which they struggled to follow up "Tommy" with a yet bigger and better rock opera. Drawing on material from several dozen interviews and mountains of rare archival coverage and recordings, it's the definitive account of this fascinating period in the Who's career.

Also recently published is "White Light/White Heat: The Velvet Underground Day-By-Day." Issued by Jawbone Press in 2009, this is the most comprehensive book ever written about this legendary and innovative group. The 368-page volume details the group's recording sessions, record releases, concerts, press reviews, and other major events shaping their career with both thorough detail and critical insight. Drawing on about 100 interviews and exhaustive research through documents and recordings rarely or never accessed, it unearths stories that have seldom been told, and eyewitness accounts that have seldom seen print, from figures ranging from band members to managers, producers, record executives, journalists, concert promoters, and fans. The July 2009 issue of MOJO magazine hails it as "an impressive menas to reflect on the conundrum of what could be the ultimate cult band...detailed and anecdote-packed." Uncut magazine chose it as #4 in its list of the ten best music books of 2009.

In 2006, Backbeat Books published his seventh book, "The Unreleased Beatles: Music and Film," a mammoth 400-page, 300,000-word guide to the incredible wealth of music the Beatles recorded that they did not release, as well as musical footage of the group that hasn't been made commercially available. The book won a 2007 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research in the "Best Discography" division of the "Best Research in Recorded Rock Music" category.

His sixth book, "Eight Miles High: Folk-Rock's Flight from Haight-Ashbury to Woodstock" (Backbeat, 2003) , is the second book in a two-volume history of the 1960s folk-rock movement. "Eight Miles High" covers folk-rock from mid-1966 to the end of the 1960s, drawing on more than 100 first-hand interviews, as did its predecessor, "Turn! Turn! Turn!: The '60s Folk-Rock Revolution," which covers the history of folk-rock through mid-1966.

His book "Unknown Legends of Rock'n'Roll," published by Backbeat in 1998, profiled 60 underappreciated cult rock artists of all styles and eras. Its sequel, "Urban Spacemen & Wayfaring Strangers: Overlooked Innovators and Eccentric Visionaries of '60s Rock," was published by Backbeat in the fall of 2000. Both of these books draw extensively upon first-hand interviews with the musicians profiled, as well as interviews with many of their close associates. These volumes cover important artists that have rarely been covered in depth in print, and have often rarely had the opportunity to tell their stories and put forth their perspectives.

He is also author of "The Rough Guide to Music USA," a guidebook to the evolution of regional popular music styles throughout America in the twentieth century; "The Rough Guide to Jimi Hendrix"; and the first two editions of the travel guidebook "The Rough Guide to Seattle." Since 1993, he has been a prolific contributor to the All Music Guide, the largest on-line database of music biographies and album reviews, for which he has written thousands of entries. He is the co-author of "The Rough Guide to Shopping with a Conscience," published by the Rough Guides in early 2007.

He regularly presents events featuring rare rock films in the San Francisco Bay area and elsewhere, at public libraries and other venues. These include the main public libraries of San Francisco, Seattle, Portland Oregon, and San Jose, as well as the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Organizations interested in having him present such events can contact him through his website, www.richieunterberger.com. In summer 2011, he taught a course on the Beatles for the College of Marin's community education program, and will be teaching it again for the September 6-October 11 fall session.

He has also contributed travel and music pieces to various publications, including MOJO, Record Collector, Pulse, rollingstone.com, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the Rough Guide to Rock, The Rough Guide Book of Playlists, the East Bay Express, 100 Albums That Changed Music, the Oxford American, the Daily Telegraph, No Depression, Ugly Things, American Songwriter, and Perfect Sound Forever. He has written liner notes to several hundred CD reissues for the Collectors' Choice Music, Sundazed, Rhino, Shout Factory, Water, 4 Men With Beards, Sunbeam, Raven, Stax, Beatball, and Top Sail labels. He is among the journalists interviewed for recent film documentaries on the Byrds, Tim Buckley, Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, the Doors, Neil Young, and the genesis of New York underground rock in the 1960s and 1970s. He has traveled to more than thirty countries, and is a passionate advocate of independent travel and alternative culture in general. He lives in San Francisco.

There is more information about Richie Unterberger and his books on his website, www.richieunterberger.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As some others have reported, this IS the best book on The Velvet Underground ever written... a day-by-day account of the band from its band members early solo works (and their influences on), to the formation of the group, to Warhol, post-Warhol, and even some post-VU pages. The detail is far beyond what has gone before. It is the ultimate chronological resource. Simply amazing for someone who has followed The Velvet Underground for 45 years to find more information in the time it takes to read it than I knew over the course of the past 4 decades.

The review that gave this book 3-stars due to the rare typos is simply ridiculous. That's the fault of the publisher and it is such a minor problem that only a perfectionist would notice or care. What is a problem and something that I had to think about with regards to giving this 5 stars is its format. Firstly, the type face is seriously small. I cannot recall a book that uses a smaller font. If this were published in a normal sized typeface, it would have doubled the size. Another problem is the physical size of the book: huge and difficult to handle while reading. I suppose with all of its illustrations, it tries to double as a coffee table book. It would have been better with smaller illustrations since there are so many so other books that cover that base well (i.e.: The Velvet Underground: New York Art) and instead, be something you can carry around and read like a regular book because it is something to refer to time and again. It is The Velvet Underground Bible. But in the end, it gets 5 stars because the written word here (albeit requiring high-powered reading glasses) is unsurpassed.

This is the final word on The Velvet Underground; there is nothing better out there and that remark comes from someone who has them all. I cannot recommend this book enough for new-comers and long-term followers of this most influential musical group.
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Format: Paperback
This is for people who are interested in VU and want to know all the details. It doesn't go into the band members opinions much but mainly puts the facts down and gives a little (insightful) commentary. It seems like it would be dry but I read it all in 3 days. Loved it.
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Format: Paperback
Simply put, this is the Velvet Underground Bible. Alongside the hundreds of photos, flyers, newspaper clippings, promotional ads and record covers, is a day-by-day account of one of the most influential bands of all time, The Velvet Underground. From the pre-VU days, all the way to their reunion in 1993, author Richie Unterberger has meticulously compiled all of the happenings related to the members of the VU.

All gigs, recording sessions, rehearsals and reviews are assembled in chronological order - from Lou Reed's days as a house songwriter at Pickwick Records, to John Cale's avante-garde performances with John Cage, to Nico's entrance/exit and the days under the wings of Andy Warhol.

This book is mammoth and not for the casual Velvets fan. I found myself skipping over the monotonous sections pertaining to early drummer Angus MacLise and John Cale collaborator LaMonte Young - it was a bit extraneous and skipping did not take away from the overall effect of the book.

Lots and lots of VU trivia to be gained from these pages. Drummer Maureen Tucker first rehearsed with the band on the very same day as her first gig with them. She was asked to join the band because the first drummer quit and Maureen had a car and an extra guitar amp. The original drummer, MacLise, quit because he found out the band was getting a paid gig and didn't want to get paid or commit to showing up at a set time for the gig.

From the same publisher that brought us Bowie in Berlin: A New Career in a New Town (Book), Jawbone Press has once again done a fantastic job. This edition is similar in size to a school textbook - 8 x 10 inches, with full page, high quality photos.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
to a fault this book leaves no stone unturned - more info than you would ever think you were going to know about the Velvet Underground
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Format: Paperback
**Review originally posted at https://midnighttosix.wordpress.com

Not many bands deserve to have their career recounted day-by-day, but The Velvet Underground are one of the few that can rightfully inspire such fanaticism. Author Richie Unterburger has done a heroic job with this book, presenting a history of over 350-pages compiled from interviews, museum archives, rare photos, magazines and recordings (both audio and video). His knowledge and fact-checking goes so in-depth that he’s often able to contradict information given by the band members themselves (whose memories are clouded by drugs, ego and time). Unterburger leaves no stone unturned in chronicling studio work, concerts (including set lists, opening bands and critique of the show whenever bootleg recordings were available), and business dealings during the band’s five-year initial existence. He even reports on all the band member’s pre- and post-VU musical activities; including info about such VU-tangents as mysterious original drummer Angus MacLise, the preposterously bad post-Lou Reed version of The Velvet Underground led by Doug Yule from 1971 until 1973, and the equally bad reunion of the classic 1966-1968 lineup in 1993. While the book largely maintains a coldly factual perspective of VU history, the personalities of the individual players can be felt throughout; especially Reed’s harsh amphetamine-driven dominance which ultimately drove Nico, Andy Warhol, and John Cale away, leaving only those (Sterling Morrison, Mo Tucker and Doug Yule) who could shut up and follow his orders. It’s a fascinating story, given a new life through obsessive detail, and it’s truly the last book on the group that any fan will need to buy.
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