Q - 7/96, p.1505 Stars
- Indispensable - "...superb..."
The Velvet Underground: Lou Reed (vocals, guitar, piano); Doug Yule (vocals, organ, bass); Maureen Tucker (vocals, percussion); Sterling Morrison (guitar, background vocals).
Originally released on MGM (4617).
Velvet Underground & Nico: Lou Reed (vocals, guitar); Nico (vocals); Sterling Morrison (guitar, bass, background vocals); John Cale (electric viola, piano, bass, background vocals); Maureen Tucker (percussion, background vocals).
Recorded at T.T.G. Studios, Hollywood California; Sceptor Studios and Mayfair Sound Studios, New York, New York in April & November 1966 & April-May 1967. Originally released on Verve (5008).
Personnel: Nico (vocals, chant); Lou Reed (vocals, guitar, electric guitar, keyboards); Sterling Morrison (guitar, bass guitar); John Cale (viola, electric viola, piano, keyboards, bass guitar); Maureen Tucker (drums, percussion).
Audio Remasterers: David Greene; Gene Radice.
Audio Remixers: David Greene; Gene Radice.
Liner Note Authors: Jonas Mekas; David Antim; John Wilcock.
Recording information: TT & G Studios, Los Angeles, CA.
Editors: David Greene; Gene Radice.
Photographers: Billy Linich; Hugo; Nat Finkelstein.
Unknown Contributor Role: Tom Wilson .
Arranger: The Velvet Underground.
Brian Eno once said that only a hundred people bought Velvet Underground records when they first came out, but those hundred people all went out and formed their own bands. The rest, of course, is history; the Velvet Underground was the catalyst that helped spark punk rock, and began the growth of an alternative branch within rock and roll's grand family tree. VU's was an unparalleled glimpse into the Summer Of Love's alter ego, complete with graphic, unapologetic descriptions of intravenous drug-use and risque sexual situations. Their 1967 debut, VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO, was a tour de force that may never be equaled for its sheer radicalism in the face of rock convention.
The Velvet Underground also mapped out unconquered sonic territories. Bassist John Cale was weaned on deconstructing classical theory--the perfect avant-garde foil to help bring Reed's terse songs to life. Even more noticeable when he would switch to electric viola, Cale's sound evoked the terror of Reed's compositions, with the bowed strings screeching like a runaway subway car. Drummer Maureen Tucker played like no one before her. Her frantic swipes could mimic a galloping rush in "Heroin," or work with the delicate, hesitant charm of "All Tomorrow's Parties." Guitarist Sterling Morrison was a master of his craft, ably switching from oddly Middle-Eastern plucking (the eerie "All Tomorrow's Parties") to head-on rock (the ultra-edgy "Waiting For The Man"), always adding just the right element to fatten the cacophony. VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO is one of rock's most significant debuts.