Doug Yule

For all the hipster hosannas heaped upon the Velvet Underground – and deservedly so, one essential member is oft overlooked – bassist Doug Yule, who joined the band upon John Cale’s dismissal in 1968. Unlike Cale, who was indifferent to the instrument, Yule was a fine bass player and singer who complimented Lou’s gravitation from the avant-garde towards the then burgeoning singer-songwriter movement. Though The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967) and White Light/White Heat (1968) were influential, groundbreaking efforts; to my ears Velvet Underground (1969) and Loaded (1970) both with Yule, represent the band’s most enduring works. And subsequent archival live releases have proved just how valuable Yule was to the Velvets. When the band finally split after Squeeze (1973), which was essentially a Doug Yule solo album – Yule founded American Flyer with Steve Katz (Blood, Sweat & Tears), Eric Kaz (Blues Magoos), and Craig Fuller (Pure Prairie League). Their two releases, produced by George Martin, unfortunately did not reach a wide audience. Doug emerged on the cut “Billy” from Reed’s only Top Ten album – Sally Can’t Dance (1974) and on the 30th Anniversary edition alternate takes from Coney Island Baby (1975). Doug Yule’s omission from the Velvet Underground’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction is inexplicable – especially given the fact that the majority of the band’s signature tracks feature Doug Yule on bass!