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Velvet Underground & Nico

4.5 out of 5 stars 204 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 1 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • ASIN: B000002G7C
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 204 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,499 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Sunday Morning
2. I'm Waiting For The Man
3. Femme Fatale
4. Venus in Furs
5. Run Run Run
6. All Tomorrow's Parties
7. Heroin
8. There She Goes Again - The Velvet Underground
9. I'll Be Your Mirror
10. The Black Angel's Death Song
11. European Sun

Product Description

Product Description



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
It's a good album for it's time although a little overrated. Yes it was influential for certain types of rock, but not all the music on this is great. The reason nobody paid attention to it in 1967 and later, was because there was some much incredible classic stuff going on at that time, that was so much better than the Velvet Underground like the Doors, Beatles, Stones, Who, Hendrix and Cream just to name a few. It's easy to see why it was ignored and did not sell. It just wasn't as good as all the variety of rock that was out there at that time. Don't fall for the hype.
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Format: Audio CD
The "Banana" album came out the same year as The Beatles' landmark record, considered the most influential rock album of all time. I would rank the first Velvets album a close second.

While PEPPER would sell millions mere weeks after release and relaunch the Beatles' career, the Banana album barely charted and wouldn't sell in decent amounts until the band's catalogue was reissued in the mid-80s. Why? The album was too raw for 1967 audiences who were weaned on sweet two-minute pop songs, and was way ahead of its time. What does count here is influence: someone once quipped that the hundred or so people who bought Velvet records each started a band. (e.g. REM, Bowie, Nirvana)

The Banana album sounds fully-born -- it sounds like nothing before, from no recording you can point to and say that it influenced this music. The reason comes down to Lou Reed's deadpan New York street lyrics, John Cale's eerie viola, Nico's Euro vocals, and the no-nonsense yet reliable rhythmn section of Sterling Morrison and Moe Tucker. This is only record where these elements come together. Reed's lyrics, especially, shatter barriers as they address drug dealing (Waiting for the Man), junkies (Heroin) and S&M (Venus in Furs).

The latter song is a standout: no one has ever *sounded* like that. Venus in Furs is dark, hypnotic and powerful. On Heroin, no one had ever sung about taking drugs with such detail (and rarely since then). The dynamics of the song, rising quietly and slowly, matches the sensation of junk hitting your brain, as the lyrics describe. The song is the perfect fusion of Reed's lyrics, Cale's screeching viola, and Tucker's solid drumming. Her drumming further propels Reed's witty tale of scoring in Harlem in Waiting For the Man.
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By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Sept. 18 2008
Format: Audio CD
Heroin, sadomasochism, paranoia, hangovers, 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 with zero mainstream appeal!

Lou Reed tears through a variety of songs, ranging from gritty hard rock to strange ballads. The most memorable song here is undoubtedly slashing, exotic S/M ode "Venus in Furs" ("Comes in bells, your servant, don't forsake him/Strike, dear mistress, and cure his heart"). Elsewhere, he dips into pure rock in the desperate "Run, Run, Run," but takes a softer turn with surreal junkie ballads and the eerie, soft "Sunday Morning."

However, German ex-model Nico -- who departed the band in hazy circumstances after this album -- leads with her seductive monotone. She only had a handful of songs, but they remain some of the best: singsong "Femme Fatale," steady and slow "All Tomorrow's Parties," and the exquisite ballad "I'll Be Your Mirror."

The Velvet Underground was probably the first real art band in rock history, formed at a time when megabands like the Rolling Stones were at their peak. But they couldn't have been more different from the heavily-publicized bands -- creepy, dark, and both beautiful and ugly. The Velvet Underground was the reverse of mainstream.

The music isn't complex, but it is strangely compelling -- the wiggling guitar at the beginning of "Black Angel's Death Song," or the tambourines Nico played in her songs. Nowhere else could musical compositions like "Sunday Morning" -- the delicate tune reminiscent of a music box -- seem so haunting as they do here.
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Format: Audio CD
Totally an incredible listen every time. From the first sunny sounds of "Sunday Morning" to the crashing intro to "I'm Waiting For the Man, " the songs are arranged in a way that lulls you in subtle pop splendor, and then thrills you with a chunk of ferocious rock. There is no room to get bored, only total intense satisfaction.
"Femme Fatale" is one of my favorite songs ever. The great Nico coyly identifying "here she comes...you better watch your step. She's going to break your heart in two...it's true." She's just a little tease, indeed. Her vocal work on this album is just amazing. The contrast between her and Lou Reed is genius. "I'll Be Your Mirror" is one of the sweetest love songs I have ever heard. It has a such an original and sweet perspective, and is so melancholy in the hands of Nico, whose voice really is so distinctive, warm and charmingly amateur all at once. It really is a pitty that her work with the Velvet Underground pretty much ended with this album. I can only imagine how the Velvet's history may have been different had she stuck around for subsequent releases.
"I'm Waiting For My Man" is probably my favorite singular song on the album. The low-key guitar approach is pure Lou Reed, and I love the imagery he brings to life about New York, and trying to meet up with his dealer. "He's never early...he's always late. First thing you learn is that you always gotta wait..." Amazing stuff, and Mo Tucker keeps it all together with her electrifying drum assault. The song that most people identify as one of the most important contributions to rock history would have to be "Heroin," Reed's droning anthemic ode to the gift's and perils of the drug he so treasured.
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