Sterling Morrison

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Sterling Morrison

Sterling Morrison in Augsburg, Germany (September 1992)
Background information
Birth name Holmes Sterling Morrison Junior
Born August 28, 1942(1942-08-28)
East Meadow, New York
Died August 30, 1995(1995-08-30) (aged 53)
Poughkeepsie, New York
Genres Rock, experimental rock, protopunk, art rock
Instruments Guitar, bass guitar
Associated acts The Velvet Underground, Nico
Notable instruments
Gibson SG
Fender Stratocaster
Fender Jaguar

Holmes Sterling Morrison Jr. (born August 28, 1942, died August 30, 1995) was an American musician (guitar), known as a founding member of the Velvet Underground.

Morrison met Lou Reed, who also played guitar, at college. They met again later in New York City, where Reed was collaborating with John Cale. Morrison joined Reed and Cale in jam sessions, and the three formed a band. The band gained the name "The Velvet Underground" when another college friend, Jim Tucker, brought them a book with that title. Tucker's sister Maureen became the band's drummer.

Morrison played lead guitar, and also rhythm and bass guitars, and sang backing vocals. When Doug Yule replaced John Cale, Morrison played lead guitar full-time. Yule sometimes pushed for the lead guitar role, and Morrison and Yule did not get along well.

Even though the Velvets were well known, their financial success was limited, and Morrison became unsure about the band's future. He quit college before the Velvets formed, with only a few credits to go, but went back to City College of New York during 1970. He completed his Bachelor's degree in English, while the band played Max's Kansas City, a restaurant and bar in New York.

After Lou Reed left the band late in 1970, Morrison continued to tour with them. He had sent his resumé to different schools, hoping to get a job as a teacher or professor. When the band visited Texas, he phoned Texas A&M University, and learned they wanted him for a teaching job. He quit the band, and taught college through the 1970s and 1980s.

Morrison later returned to New York, and became a tugboat captain. He reunited with the Velvets during the 1990s, playing shows with them in Europe and America. He became ill in 1995, saw a doctor, and found out he had lymphoma, a kind of cancer. He died only a few weeks later, and not long before the Velvet Underground were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.