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Sterling Morrison
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    (August 29, 1942-August 30, 1995)
    Born in East Meadow, New York
    Birth name was Holmes Sterling Morrison, Jr.
    Guitarist for the Velvet Underground
    Died of lymphoma one day after his 53rd birthday
    He originally studied trumpet and switched to guitar only after his instructor was drafted.
    He claimed he was co-author of several Velvet Underground songs, but he gave in when Lou Reed demanded sole credit: ‘So now he’s credited for being the absolute and singular genius of the Underground, which is not true.’
    After a Velvet Underground concert in Houston, he took an empty suitcase with him to the airport, then, as the band reached the gate for their flight back to New York, announced that he was staying in Texas and leaving the group (August 21, 1971).
    One of his friends in Austin commented, ‘We’d take Sterling to parties and bet on how quickly he could clear the room.’
    He earned a PhD in medieval literature.
    After leaving the music biz, he became an English teacher at the University of Texas in Austin and later a tugboat captain in Houston.
    When the Velvet Underground was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1996), Lou Reed, John Cale and Maureen Tucker performed ‘Last Night I Said Goodbye to My Friend’ and dedicated the song to Morrison.

Credit: C. Fishel

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