The debut album with The Velvet Underground (not to be confused with their 3. album, The Velvet Underground from 1969). It was recorded in Scepter, TTG and Mayfair studios from April to November 1966, but first released 12 March 1967. The band formation process, up to this debut album with Nico started in 1964 with Lou Reed and John Cale meeting and forming the band Primitives. The first constellation with all 4 band members was called Warlocks, soon after they changed to Falling Spikes and finally, in November 1965, they changed it to The Velvet Underground. This is actually also the month and year I was born..
It’s probably one of the most iconic albums ever made, because of the music of cause, and not least because of Andy Warhol’s genius cover design and production. On some early releases the owner was invited to peel the banana, and it then revealed a colored banana underneath the skin. Some years ago I owned one of these collectable items , it was missing the peeled skin though, but I was tempted by an offer and sold it for a good price. Shame on me, I know. Shortly after I bought a UK non gate-fold repress from 1983 in NM condition. Since my old copy was only VG this was a good exchange the listening experience in mind, but the collector gen regrets that deal, since it’s almost impossible to find these old versions now. A unpeeled copy is for sale on Discogs at the moment for, 1700 Euro. I think I stick with my UK reissue…..
Listening the album kind of place the listener in a specific mood, already from the first tunes of Sunday Morning, and lasts the rest of the record. Well, it does for me, I know you can’t generalize about music. The mood is somewhere between melancholic, happy and depressive. Waiting for my man, the dealer, reflects that very negative state of mind, needing the drug badly – but also the release of emotion when it is “home” and everything gets back to normal. To satisfaction. For me this album can be played at anytime, morning, afternoon, late evening, while eating, drinking – and in any mood. Some friends find it very depressing and destructive music – well it has it’s elements for sure, but it’s so much more that that in my opinion.
Lou Reed – vocals, lead guitar, ostrich guitar
John Cale – electric viola, piano, bass guitar, backing vocals, celesta
Sterling Morrison – rhythm guitar, lead guitar, bass, backing vocals
Maureen Tucker – percussion, drums, tambourine
Nico – vocals, backing vocals