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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Alternative Album Of The 1960's
Bought this album when i was 15/16 and still hadnt developed a thought process which allowed me to apreciate its brilliance. Left it alone for about a year then played it again, and yes it is one of the most influential albums of all time. Alternative music starts here this is the invention of punk/garage/grunge and any other loose pigeon hole invented by the mass...
Published on 16 Mar 2011 by Dixa

versus
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars the bride was too beautiful !
I baught this vinyl according to the design of the vinyl which is wearing the banana on the grooves... and I add no comments to the wonderful Velvet Underground music that crossed decades without aging... BUT, I have serious critisisms regarding the vinyl product, produced by "Back to Back picture vinyl": the sound is not as clear as it should be. There is a...
Published on 2 Aug 2011 by Music is Love


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Alternative Album Of The 1960's, 16 Mar 2011
Bought this album when i was 15/16 and still hadnt developed a thought process which allowed me to apreciate its brilliance. Left it alone for about a year then played it again, and yes it is one of the most influential albums of all time. Alternative music starts here this is the invention of punk/garage/grunge and any other loose pigeon hole invented by the mass media.

Im not a fan of Nico if im honest (self important celeb humper kate moss of her day) but her voice does seem to suit the over all feel of this record. and she adds a softer edge to a pretty hard visceral album.

You wont beleive this was released in 1967 to be honest its at least ten years before its time.
Essential in anyone who really appreciates music, play it loud and scare the neighbours.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...He's Got The Works..." - The Velvet Underground & Nico by THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO (2002 2CD DELUXE EDITION), 24 Nov 2014
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I can think of only two other albums like The Velvet Underground's debut that have influenced so much and so many - and had such a staggering and lasting cultural impact - "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" by The Beatles and "Never Mind The Bollocks..." by The Sex Pistols. When I worked at Reckless in the West End we kept at least 100 copies of the Velvet's debut on new 180grams reissue vinyl for eager punters to snap up on a daily basis - without question the biggest selling reissue album we ever had. No other LP short of Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon" or Nirvana's "Nevermind" has had such a devoted and long-lasting following. And for those who can't afford (nor want) the Super Deluxe 6-Disc version that came out in October 2012 - this 2CD Deluxe Edition gives a scratchy arm all the needles it'll need. Here are the Femme Fatales and Andy Warhols...

Released June 2002 - "The Velvet Underground & Nico" is a 2CD DELUXE EDITION on Universal/Polydor 0731458958826 and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (60:18 minutes):
1. Sunday Morning
2. I'm Waiting For The Man
3. Femme Fatale [Vocals by Nico]
4. Venus In Furs
5. Run, Run, Run
6. All Tomorrow's Parties [Vocals by Nico]
7. Heroin [Side 2]
8. There She Goes Again
9. I'll Be Your Mirror
10. The Black Angel's Death Song
11. European Son
Tracks 1 to 11 are the STEREO VERSION of "The Velvet Underground & Nico" - their debut album released March 1967 in the USA on Verve V6-5008 and November 1967 in the UK on Verve SVLP 9184 [For Mono Variant see Disc 2]

12. Little Sister
13. Winter Song
14. It Was A Pleasure Then
15. Chelsea Girls
16. Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams
Tracks 12 to 16 are from "Chelsea Girl"- the solo debut album by NICO released October 1967 on Verve V6-5032 (Stereo) and finally released in the UK in September 1971 on MGM Select 2353 025 (Stereo)

Disc 2 (77:33 minutes):
1. Sunday Morning
2. I'm Waiting For The Man
3. Femme Fatale [Vocals by Nico]
4. Venus In Furs
5. Run, Run, Run
6. All Tomorrow's Parties [Vocals by Nico]
7. Heroin [Side 2]
8. There She Goes Again
9. I'll Be Your Mirror
10. The Black Angel's Death Song
11. European Son
Tracks 1 to 11 are the MONO VERSION of "The Velvet Underground & Nico" released March 1967 in the USA on Verve V-5008 and November 1967 in the UK on Verve VLP 9184 [For Stereo Variant see Disc 1]

12. All Tomorrow's Parties (Single Version),
13. I'll Be Your Mirror (12 and 13 issued July 1966 as the A&B-sides of a US 7" single on Verve VK-10427. Both tracks feature NICO on Lead Vocals, are in MONO and were not issued in the UK as a single. "I'll Be Your Mirror" the 'single version' features an alternate ending to the cut on the LP)

14. Sunday Morning (Single Version)
15. Femme Fatale (Single Version) (14 and 15 issued December 1966 as the A&B-sides of a US 7" single on Verve VK-10466. "Femme Fatale" features NICO on Lead Vocals, is in Mono and was not issued in the UK)

Compiled by BILL LEVINSON and remastered by BOB LUDWIG and JEFF WILLENS - they've done a fantastic job with an album that is notoriously lo-fi on purpose (Produced by Andy Warhol with Nico credited as a 'Chanteuse'). The foldout flaps of the digipak feature reviews of the album from various trade papers of the time, album credits, suitably blurry photos of the band beneath the see-through trays and a 28-page booklet that has classy black and white snaps of the group's famous shows (mostly live shots) and some studies of Nico. The Dave Thompson liner notes (Pages 3 to 12) go deep into the album's explosive history, there's lyrics to all the songs and original US issues (Universal 314 589 624-2) even has a 'peelable' banana on the front flap to repro the rare first pressings on vinyl (now worth a King's ransom).

Flower-power ladies, loved up hippies and peace-in-our-time acid droppers got the fright of their lives when "The Velvet Underground & Nico" was released in the spring of 1967. It painted a seriously dark picture of a counter-culture that was already writhing in sweaty withdrawal. Drugs and their all-pervasive effect of everything you hold dear permeates almost every song - scoring them ("I'm Waiting For The Man"), doing them ("Venus In Furs") and then selling your body and eventually your soul to get more ("Run, Run, Run"). And all of this despair is wrapped up in jagged melodies, droll voices (American and German) and distorted guitars that sound like they're being tortured by CIA operatives determined to find a Communist. But I suspect that like "Bollocks" - the real reason the album has endured so long is precisely because it's so brutally honest - where one track is actually called "Heroin" - and the others barely disguise such a controversial subject matter. And yet there's inexplicable prettiness too - the gorgeous opener "Sunday Morning" sung by Lou Reed as if he hasn't a care in the world - while Nico scores massively with three vocal beauties - "Femme Fatale", the ragged piano of "All Tomorrow's Parties" and the delicate "I'll Be Your Mirror". Even now it's an extraordinary piece of work and 'influential' barely touches on its true impact down through the decades. It also has something you can't invent - it's effortlessly cool...

Of the two versions I actually find the MONO mix to be more powerful and direct (unavailable since its 1967 release) - the wild soloing of "Heroin" is so stunning and the jangly guitar of "There She Goes Again" much cleaner as it escapes your speakers. And with Sterling Morrison, Lou Reed and John Cale all contributing to the NICO solo tracks - it's hardly surprising they bookend Disc 1. The flute and dry nature of "Chelsea Girls" with "Bridget all wrapped in foil..." matches the Velvets album perfectly while the eight-minutes of the (admittedly hissy) "It Was A Pleasure Then" feels just as druggy as anything on the "Banana Peel" debut.

Will we ever know its like again? Will I ever find an unpeeled 'banana sleeve' in a dollar bin or carboot sale - no is the answer. But at least with this superb Universal DE Edition you can get to understand what all the fuss and iconography is about.

"$26 in my hand...more dead than alive..." Lou Reed sings on "I'm Waiting For The Man". Well in 2014 you'll get your fix for a lot less now - and in this case - it's worth every blood red cent...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crushed Velvet for the Connoisseur, 21 Feb 2010
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This was a touchstone to describe anything non linear and difficult to digest. VU at one time were a secret cult. A glacial pond within the 60's cultural ice age, emerging with the Stooges to sprout new life forms in the late 70's thaw.

David Bowie brought Lou Reed into mass consciousness with Transformer launching the VU trajectory.

Primarily ignored during their heyday. VU zoned within the sealed New York art experience, playing to outsiders moving to the inside. Avant Garde middle class misfits alchemising a generation with new beliefs culled from art sifted into pop.

VU ditched the blues, instead playing monotone drone tones. John Cale the catalyst working alongside La Monte Young brought the ideas to the fringes. Drones resembled the dying embers of the bagpipes as the choral melodies dance a jig to the vibrating surface harmonical dense fog of noise. Drone entered rock with the electric viola and Cale's ear for the absurd. Lou Reed two chord salutes to Cale's drones seeking attention.

A glacial vocal melancholia counterpoised the New York drawl, the mix of the old europe with the new world. Vocals suffused in two shades of deadpan; male or female monotone baritone echoing the walls of the avante. The drums beaten with Bo Didley primitive finesse, the bells and whistles emptied.

Song subject matter changed from having a ball to what time is the dealer going to arrive. The timetable and the geography deftly announced in Waiting for My Man. The whoop of sensual euphoria of the 50's had turned into the creak of leather and the crack of the whip in Venus in Furs. Love euphoria of boy needs girl next door transformed into the femme fatale, the uberfemme breaking the hearts of men by luring them onto the rocks of her beauty. Gaining her power by seeing them wreck their souls on the heels of her shiny leather boots. All tomorrow's parties joins Cinderella to pathos, the non happy ending of a fairytale life, an indictment of the Factory front and prescient of Nico.

The taboo of the mainstream was now opely discussed; Nelson Algren Hubert Selby, Burroughs, Chandler, Jim Thompson and Chester Himes had all pulped this world. Now the treasure chest wa opened and VU put it all to the sound of music.

Described as an alternative Beatles, the Velvet infused the dark real cynical and jaded to shiny smooth cloying versions of love few people attain and retain. Heather the femme fatale to love sick Paul.

It has a majesty, resonating 40 years later because it communicates to each new generation different facets of its angst and ennui. Lou Reed set out to shock, 40 plus years later heroin use, S&M, uberfemmes are commonplace cultural artefacts now embedded. This no longer shocks but describes.

Meanwhile music has retreated into reaction. The brisk confidence of experimentation has been replaced with safety in numbers clogging up the cultural arteries.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The history of alternative rock music starts here..., 6 Dec 2002
While many people believe this album to be the most influential album ever (it is by the way), they rarely concentrate their praise on anything else.
Granted, while it is hard to imagine Smashing Pumpkins, Jesus & Mary Chain, Pixies, Sonic Youth, Radiohead, Godspeed You Black Emporor!, My Bloody Valentine, (countless others) making the extraordinary albums they did without this album existing, it is also worth noting that this album is still ahead of the times.
35 years on, it still astonishes for its audacity, its experimentation with sound and its originality. Sunday Morning's hushed druggie fall out ambience, Waiting For The Man's pure rock 'n' roll innovation and stark imagery, Venus In Fur's hypnotic and off-kilter swirl of detuned guitars and viola, Heroin's distressing seven minute caustic attack on addiction, the nausea inducing musical headf**k of the closing European Son. It all adds up to an amazing listening experience. You hear the history of almost all alternative music in the 48 minutes and six seconds this album contains.
This deserves to be considered the starting point for anyone interested in alternative music, and anyone considering should stop considering and start purchasing!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WARNING about CD Sleeve ..., 13 Nov 2013
By 
Mr. P. G. Taylor (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I would simply like to advise people to be very careful when they receive this album if it arrives like mine did - for some ridiculous reason, whereas most Deluxe Edition albums might come with a slip-on over sleeve stating its a Deluxe Edition etc, this one one comes with a sticky tape "Deluxe Edition" band around the bottom of the album, which you have to at least cut to open the album - and your initial instinct then will probably be like mine and you will wish to peel off the unsightly band, which I did - and which proceeded to remove half of the surface print off of the album faces! 5 Star album, but whomever came up with the packaging could do with that banana on the sleeve inserted somewhere ... :/
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 2CD Deluxe 45th Anniversary Edition is nice but..., 29 Oct 2012
By 
The Bogie Fan (West Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
I'll not discuss CD1 as the album is superb and doesn't really need any introduction, it invented "alternative" music pretty much. There are a few alternate versions on the end of CD1 but whether they differ from the acetate ones on CD2 other than having a bit of talking at the beginning or end is debatable, there is a completely different instrumental take of All Tomorrow's Parties though.

CD2 is where things get interesting, it has the Scepter Studios versions of 9 tracks from VU & Nico which became famous when an old scratched acetate disc of them turned up a few years ago at a second hand record store and sold for a fortune at auction.
Four of the nine tracks are sourced from tape, five from acetate, and herein lies the problem. The songs sourced from tape sound great but the songs from the acetate, though I'm sure they've been put through something to get rid of some of the surface noise and scratches on the disc, still sound quite ropey.
If all the songs were available on tape then they should have used the tape source, maybe some weren't - the notes in the booklet don't mention whether that was the case or not.
Anyway some of the songs are totally different takes, some are extended, some have different backing vocals, some are difficult to tell from the usual version on CD1 apart from the surface noise.
The main thing is that they're worth having, if you've got the Unripened semi-official CD of the acetate then they do sound better on this release.
As well as those recordings there are "The Factory Rehearsals" which are interesting at least.

I didn't buy the all-singing 6cd set because I already have this album twice as I have the mono "Rarities Edition" and the "Peel Slowly & See" boxset which has a stereo version and I didn't think I really needed to get the mono album yet again.
The 6cd one also contains Nico's "Chelsea Girl" album and a double live CD which includes Nico but I wasn't going to pay five times as much just to get a live CD I might not listen to very often and a Nico album that is available quite cheaply on its own.

To anyone who doesn't already own this album I'd recommend buying the single CD "Rarities" version as I think the mono mix on that is the definitive version.
To someone who has the "Peel Slowly & See" boxset but not the acetate I'd recommend buying this 2CD version and the "Rarities" version as the acetate versions on this and the mono mix on the "Rarities" version are well worth having if you love it as much as I do.
And if you're truly a completist and have money burning a hole in your pocket then you'll have bought the 6cd version already so why are you reading a review of the 2CD set?!

Edit: I've since heard the live double CD from the 6CD set and whilst interesting it's not something I'd listen to enough to justify the price tag. I think they'd have been better off including a speed-corrected Le Bataclan '72 CD where Nico, Reed, and Cale performed stripped down arrangements of several songs off the debut album. Maybe the 50th anniversary edition will have a DVD of that show ;-)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprised by this album, 25 April 2002
By A Customer
I'll admit it, - I bought this album simply because it was cheap. I'd heard one of my friends rave on about it, but then his music tastes often range from the obscure to tuneless, - and that's what I expected of this album: a tuneless drawl. When I first listened to it, I was amazed at the simplistic pop songs that were on this album, yet since then, every time I've listened to it, I've found something more about it to love. Each and every song had it's own story to tell. This album started off as an album that I bought on impulse, and has become on my favourite albums of all time. Everyone should own it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 20 Dec 2006
The first album of many that I bought by Velvet Underground. I bought it for the song 'Sunday Morning' which continues to be one of my favourites, but 'I'm waiting for the man', 'venus in furs' and 'I'll be your mirror' are all strong contenders for the top spot now. This is very 60's, a little psycadelic and very unusual and colourful. A wonderful mix of themes for songs, 'I'll be your mirror' is stunning with incredibly moving lyrics, 'Venus in furs' is seductive and glamorous, 'Sunday morning' is charming and laid back, and 'I'm waiting for the man' is dangerous and sad. Also recommended, Lou Reed's solo works.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark angel, 22 Jan 2006
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Heroin, sadomasochism, paranoia, seductive ladies and a big banana on the cover. The Velvet Underground was unique in 1967 (even if it never made big sales), and remains unique to this day, no matter how many bands are influenced by them. (Not bad for an arty band!)
Lou Reed tears through a variety of songs, like the slashing, exotic S/M "Venus in Furs," desperate hard-rocking "Run, Run, Run," the surreal junkie ballad "Heroin," and the eerie, soft "Sunday Morning." However, German ex-model Nico leads in the seductive, singsong "Femme Fatale," steady and slow "All Tomorrow's Parties," and the lovely ballad "I'll Be Your Mirror."
The music isn't complex, but it is strangely compelling (such as the wiggling guitar at the beginning of "Black Angel's Death Song," or the tambourines in Nico's songs). Nowhere else could musical compositions like "Sunday Morning" (the tune originally reminded me of a music box) seem so haunting as they do here.
The vocals are excellent, although listeners will probably like one or the other. Lou Reed's high thin voice is a sharp contrast to Nico's accented, husky croon. (Nico left the band after this album) The writing is outstanding, especially since the frank references to kinky sex and drugs are nowhere near as shocking now as they were when the album was first put out.
The sparse, slithering music and excellent singing add solidarity to the reputation of the Velvet Underground as a classic. Dark and brooding, "Velvet Underground and Nico" is an exceptional album.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars audio heroin!, 18 Jan 2004
By A Customer
i'm not going to go on about how wonderful the velvet underground were/are, influential, blah, blah, blah...every good word you hear is true, but it gets really boring after the first 100 reviews saying so. the purpose of this is to help you decide whether not you want to buy the cd, and the best way to do that is to describe the material featured on it, not give you a lecture. so:
1.'sunday morning' is a very dreamy, lazy pop song. ethereal. heavenly. soft, sweet and slow. the twinkling bells just top it all off gorgeously.
2.'waiting for the man' is a bit of a shock! very upbeat rock with relentless, pounding piano notes, twangy guitar lines and lou reed drawling monotonously. this tale of drug dealing gives us the first hint that we are in for something slightly off-center.
3.the first song featuring (pretentiously-titled german 'chanteuse') nico, 'femme fatale' is a soothing, gently poppy mid-tempo song.
4.screaming viola, heartbeat-style drums and scary lyrics make the 5-minute s&m national anthem 'venus in furs' a claustrophobic, haunting masterpiece.
5.lou reed clearly shows his bob dylan influences in the bluesy 60s rocker 'run run run'. this track has some great slightly-distorted, out of tune guitar solos. does sound a bit dated.
6.'all tomorrows parties' is a very slow dirge with a thudding beat. nico repeats lyrics of a vain, lonely girl in her bored, accented monotone. jangly keyboards and more twangy guitar.
7.when i was reading reviews of this cd, i got so sick of seeing people write half a page on how great 'heroin' is. so here's my 5-word verdict: classic. buy just for this.
8.'there she goes again' is a poppy, uptempo song with a great guitar riff. the song goes very wild at the end!
9.last nico song 'i'll be your mirror' is a tender, slow poppy song, similar to 'femme fatale'.
10.the velvets have completely lost their patience with being entertaining for these last 2 numbers. 'the black angel's death song' has some wild, fast and screeching viola with lou reed reciting his nonsensical, beat-poetry lyrics. let it grow.
11.'european son' starts off by decieving you into thinking that this will be another upbeat blues/rock/pop song, which, for the first minute, it is. we then hear the sound of a chair being dragged along the floor and a glass shatters. this signals the breakneck instrumental battle and wall of feedback that engulfs the listener for the next 6 minutes.
so there you have it. the best description i can muster. no cliche line like 'if you're a velvet underground fan...' 'if you're a newcomer...' if the album described above sounds like your type of thing, you go and buy now and experience some of the most amazing, influential and ahead-of-it's-time music ever made. if it doesn't, you leave well alone and go back to your cuddly, fluffy little cotton wool world and your safe, bland, boring top 40 cds.
i will say one thing as a closer, tho'- 'the velvet underground and nico' has nothing on the next album 'white light/white heat'...........
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