Lou Reed and John Cale swore they’d never work together again after the Velvet Underground‘s 1993 reunion tour imploded following a brief European run. But they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just months after guitarist Sterling Morrison passed away in 1995, and the tragedy brought the three surviving members of the group together one last time.
“I’d like to thank all the people that worked so hard to get us in,” Reed said at the ceremony. “We regret that our friend and fellow musician Sterling Morrison couldn’t be with us.” John Cale used his brief speech to honor other key figures in the Velvet Underground’s history. “This, of course, is shared by three other people,” he said, “Sterling, Nico and Andy [Warhol.] This event makes an astonishing point to all the musicians in the world that sales aren’t the be-all and end-all of rock & roll. Freedom and artistic inspiration are the cornerstone of rock & roll.”
Shortly before the ceremony, Reed, Cale and Maureen Tucker sat down and wrote a beautiful tribute to Morrison entitled “Last Night I Said Goodbye to My Friend.” Backed by no other musicians, the three of them performed the work for the audience at the Waldorf Astoria ballroom in New York City. It marked the last time the Velvet Underground performed anywhere.