The Five Greatest Songs Written About Andy Warhol
The striking art and groundbreaking ideas of Andy Warhol were undoubtedly a sign of an inspired and otherworldly spirit. His bizarre and often controversial concepts began to spread his name around New York City in the late 1950s after he decided to exhibit his artwork in local galleries as a side aspiration to his successful career. commercial illustrator. As his art gained popularity in galleries, Andy Warhol established the studio and troupe of artists called “The Factory”. The studio quickly became the epicenter of his multimedia exploration.
As an eccentric socialite, he regularly befriended locals who sparked his intrigue and brought them to his lair of artistic wonder, where a whole tapestry of intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, bohemians mingled. of the street, of musicians and artists.
Around the mid-1960s, Warhol focused on trying to help budding personalities achieve his level of fame and success. These people later became known as Warhol Superstars; these stars would be absorbed by his troupe of artists and would crop up in his various installations, productions, and bohemian soirees. Through these superstars, Warhol forged the famous saying: “In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes”. This tenure is surprisingly relevant today, with the advent of social media allowing almost anyone to become a minor celebrity for a short time if they choose.
During this period, Warhol befriended budding experimental rock band The Velvet Underground and took them under his wing to become their manager, promoter and creative director. It seemed like a match made in heaven; one of the most avant-garde artists of the century had met a group of avant-garde musicians among the most avant-garde of the baby boomer generation.
The Velvet Underground performed frequently at The Factory while Warhol guided them to their self-titled debut album, insisting that his friend Nico sing with the band despite frontman Lou Reed’s reservations. The Velvet Underground & Nico was not a big hit at the time due to its progressive content, but the album has since become one of the most iconic in rock history and has been made symbolic by the ingenious yet simple artwork of the banana that Warhol designed for the record cover.
Warhol was a restless creative with irons in far too many fires to quantify. Lou Reed said of his creative mentor, “He worked around the clock; I’ve never seen anyone do that.” Throughout his career, Warhol founded Interview magazine, directed and produced film projects, wrote numerous books and created countless art prints, which in their own way allowed Warhol to convey his curious ideas. and fantastic to the rest of the world. Over the course of his career, he became one of the most commercially savvy artists of all time, and in 2009 The Economist described him as “the beacon of the art market”.
As the guiding flame in the art world, countless musicians have naturally fallen in love with Warhol over the past six decades. Below, we rank the top five songs written about the goofy pop artist.
The five greatest songs written about Andy Warhol:
5. ‘Andy Warhol’s Dead’ – Transvision Vamp
In 1988, British pop rock band Transvision Vamp released their first studio album, pop-art. The album was a smash hit, reaching number four on the UK Albums Chart and earning the band their first top 10 hit with “I Want Your Love”.
The theme suggested by the album’s title is most intrinsically linked to one of its most curious and profound cuts, “Andy Warhol’s Dead”. The track is a strange tribute to the artist who died just a year after his death. The jerky lyrics read: “I just left 11th June ’87/And someone says/Andy Warhol is dead/No more Edie, Andy or Candy/No more factory/Because Andy Warhol is dead”.
4. “Andy Warhol was right” – Warrant
In 1992, Los Angeles heavy metal band Warrant released their third studio album, dogs eat dogs. One of the best moments on the album is the slow “Andy Warhol Was Right”. The lyrics read, “I wanna bathe in your life/I wanna be on the news/If I take your life/It ain’t nothing personal/Just a boy and his toy gun/Die for attention” .
The title of the song probably relates to Warhol’s saying, “In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes”. The lyrics depict an unstable character desperate for fame and flirting with the idea of valuing a celebrity, presumably Warhol, who himself survived a shooting in 1968.
3. “Kill Andy Warhol” – Simple Minds
While Scottish rock band Simple Minds enjoyed their heyday in the 1980s, their output was also peppered with notable successes in the following decades. The 1998 version, Neapolisreceived mixed reviews upon release, but one of its most stable moments was the oddly titled “Killing Andy Warhol.”
The opaque lyrics read, “Have you ever thought what you feel / It ain’t quite what you are / Some of us are satellites / Some of us are superstars / They’re killing Andy Warhol / C he’s a saint and he’s a thief/We’ll all die a million times”. Jim Kerr was likely referring to the 1968 assassination attempt by radical feminist Valerie Solanas. Although the initial gunshot wound did not not killed Warhol, the lasting damage is thought to have been a major factor in his death some 19 years later.
2. ‘Andy Warhol’ – David Bowie
Just before the booming glam-rock masterclass that was The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders of MarsDavid Bowie released his brilliant 1971 album, Hunky-dory. The album was famous for tracks like ‘Life on Mars’, ‘Changes’ and ‘Queen Bitch’, but within its belly lurks one particular Warhol-inspired triumph, aptly named ‘Andy Warhol’.
The Starman chameleon was bursting with creative energy as the 60s spilled over into the 70s, drunk on the muse of Beat Generation literature and pop art. Naturally, the young talent was eminently enamored with America’s eccentric genius and wrote this bouncy acoustic beauty in honor.
1. “It takes style” – Lou Reed and John Cale
Picking the best Andy Warhol song was tough, but picking the creators was easy. Of all the songs written for the legendary pop artist, Lou Reed and his former Velvet Underground bandmate John Cale take the lion’s share. Having known Warhol intensely throughout their rise to fame and staying in touch for two decades until his death in 1987, Reed and Cale had a lot to say for their late friend.
With so much to say, the duo couldn’t be expected to limit their tribute to just one song. Instead, Warhol’s beloved mentees reunited in the studio for their first full-length collaborative album since 1968. White light/white heat. The 1990 version was named Songs for Drella, Drella being an old nickname for Warhol merging “Dracula” and “Cinderella”. The album was a creative marvel documenting critical moments in Warhol’s extraordinary life; “Style It Takes” was probably the peak power of the album.
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