Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 11, 2012 05:10 PM
Andy Warhol helped establish Lou Reed's old band, Velvet Underground. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers used to be the house band at Warhol’s Factory happenings in NYC and laid down the tunes at the famed artist’s exquisitely named Exploding Plastic Inevitable events. Heck, Warhol managed the band in its early days.
Perhaps most famously of all, Warhol's painting of a banana graced the cover of the band’s 1967 debut, The Velvet Underground & Nico, inarguably one of the most influential rock albums of all time despite not selling many copies when it first came out. Brian Eno reportedly quipped that only 10,000 people bought the disc, but all of them went out and then formed bands.
So Warhol’s banana, which he never trademarked, became a symbol of that album and the rock revolution that marked the decade. So when the Underground’s lawyers got word that the Warhol Foundation had licensed the image for use on iPhone and iPad products, a suit was filed; it marked a moment of incongruity to a relationship that had long seemed harmonious.
But a Federal Judge in New York has “eliminated the copyright claim Friday, though she left in place trademark claims,” according to the Associated Press. Undeterred, the band's legal team is pressing forward on the trademark issue, though Warhol’s lawyers don’t think the band have a case there since it is in the public domain, the L.A. Times reports.
Whatever happens, as the Times points out, the tunes will sound the same. And so will all the tunes by David Bowie, Patti Smith, the Talking Heads, R.E.M., and the bazillions of other bands that were influenced by them.