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The Velvet Underground & Nico Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 152 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (20 May 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Polydor Records
  • ASIN: B000002G7C
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,616 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

Product Description

One would be hard-pressed to name a rock album whose influence has been as broad and pervasive as The Velvet Underground & Nico. While it reportedly took over a decade for the album's sales to crack six figures, glam, punk, new wave, goth, noise, and nearly every other left-of-center rock movement owes an audible debt to this set. While The Velvet Underground had as distinctive a sound as any band, what's most surprising about this album is its diversity. Here, the Velvets dipped their toes into dreamy pop ("Sunday Morning"), tough garage rock ("Waiting for the Man"), stripped-down R&B ("There She Goes Again"), and understated love songs ("I'll Be Your Mirror") when they weren't busy creating sounds without pop precedent. Lou Reed's lyrical exploration of drugs and kinky sex (then risky stuff in film and literature, let alone "teen music") always received the most press attention, but the music Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen Tucker played was as radical as the words they accompanied. The bracing discord of "European Son," the troubling beauty of "All Tomorrow's Parties," and the expressive dynamics of "Heroin" all remain as compelling as the day they were recorded. While the significance of Nico's contributions have been debated over the years, she meshes with the band's outlook in that she hardly sounds like a typical rock vocalist, and if Andy Warhol's presence as producer was primarily a matter of signing the checks, his notoriety allowed The Velvet Underground to record their material without compromise, which would have been impossible under most other circumstances. Few rock albums are as important as The Velvet Underground & Nico, and fewer still have lost so little of their power to surprise and intrigue more than 40 years after first hitting the racks.

Amazon.co.uk

When the Velvets recorded this debut, they were best known as the protégés of Andy Warhol (who designed the sleeve), and as a grating, combustible live band. Fuelled by drummer Moe Tucker's no-nonsense wham and John Cale's howling viola, some of the straight-up rock & roll and arty noise extravaganzas here bear that out. But before Lou Reed was singing about sadomasochism and drug deals and writing lyrics inspired by his favourite poets, he was a pop songwriter and this album has some of his prettiest tunes, mostly sung by Nico, the German dark angel who left the band after this disc. Even the sordid rockers are underscored by graceful pop tricks, like the two-chord flutter at the centre of the classic "Heroin". --Douglas Wolk

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This really is the way to do super deluxe reissues. Eschewing silly gimmicks, it's basically a coffee-table book, beautifully produced, with 6 CDs in slots at the back and, of course, a peelable banana on the front. The essay by Richie Unterberger is well-informed - as far as is possible because there seems to be quite a lot of uncertainty about exact dates etc. - and well written, though a little bland; I particularly like the opening list of negative and random factors that should have prevented the album from ever having been made, and the informed speculation about why it took nearly a year for the album to be issued. Much of the book consists of photographs, most of which I've never seen before, both of the Velvets and associates (often in live performance) and of different versions of the original album cover, gig handbills etc.

The mastering is superb throughout, the amount of detail they've got out of the original tapes is extremely impressive and both the stereo and mono versions of the released album sound magnificent, and better than ever before, as does Nico's Chelsea Girls album, included here in its entirety. Notably it is mastered quite a bit quieter than the previous 2 CD deluxe edition - it sounds quite noticeably different overall as well. As I predicted in my review of the grey-market Unripened - Sweden, the contents of the legendary Scepter Studios/Norman Dolph acetate featuring an early/demo version of the album get an official release as part of a box set.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Had this one for a while and have given the CDs a good listen.
CD1 contains the stereo mix of the original album with 5 alternative track versions, all worth having as European Son being possibly better than the original. This must be as good as this album is going to sound in my opinion. Much better having the original album to start with not "sandwiched" as it is on Peel Slowly And See.
CD2 has the mono version + some singles and surprisingly does not have the impact of the stereo version.
CD3 is Nico's album which I must admit I have never owned before unlike VU's album where I still have my original '67 vinyl. As this album had Reed, Cale & Morrison playing on it (along with Jackson Browne), it is a logical inclusion, and a worthy one.
CD4 has the studio sessions and rehearsals which for any fan of the band is such interesting listening, (although the early recordings on Peel Slowly on CD1 are essential as well), and again are a really worthy addition.
CDs5&6 contain a live concert from 4/11/66 and are bootleg quality. Anyone that has ever heard bootlegs of rock concerts as early as 66 may know how bad the quality can be!
However, for a band and an album of this historical importance, I'm am so happy that they were included. They should carry a caveat emptor though as they are rough!!

The package comes housed in a large format book far more suited to your book library than your CD library, however it is beautiful in my opinion with many photos of the band and memorabilia, lyrics and 6 slots at the back to house the CDs.
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Format: Audio CD
This is by far the best reissue of the year, perhaps of all time. Truly glorious packaging: a weighty coffee-table-sized book, magnificently illustrated and penned by Velvet Underground authority, Richie Unterberger (although there are more photographs than words). Obviously made for profit, but also a labor of love.

Disc One: An incredibly-clear remastering, better than any that have gone before, the equal of the long out-of-print MFSL version. Finishes with bonus tracks: the familiar single-voice All Tomorrow's Parties and a previously unheard instrumental backing-track of the same. Also has alternate versions of European Son and Herion, and a great alternate mix of I'll Be Your Mirror with Nico's laughter at the end.

Disc Two: As with disc one, the best-sounding mono version yet with the two mono singles as bonuses. This is the way the album was originally recorded, so this is the definitive version. Thunderous.

Disc Three: Chelsea Girl, put here because on Nico's firt solo album, she was backed by Reed, Cale, Morrison and Jackson Browne. They wrote the majority of the songs too. Kind of like a gentle version of VU&N, but unfortunately, originally ruined with spurious and later added bogus strings and a flute, which could not be removed here because they could not find the original master, but yet again, the best sounding version yet.

Disc Four: The Scepter Studio version. Never mind the bootlegs; here the sound improvement is very dramatic, now elevated to nearly the same sound quality as the official mono version. Please note there a couple of seconds of pop and click during Run Run Run. Maureen Tucker's one of only two existing acetate records served as the main source for these.
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