The Velvet Underground

Andy Warhol's Velvet Underground

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The name of the Velvet Underground didn't mean much in the U.K. in 1971, but Andy Warhol was hot property. Theaterland still rocked to the shock of his Pork production, the underground cinemas screened Heat and Trash; for good or bad, Warhol was on everybody's lips, and into the midst of the mayhem dropped this two-LP distillation of the band he managed for a little over a year in 1966-1967. It's good stuff as well. Ignore the fact that most of its contents post-date the band's association with the artist, and that even among Warhol's putative productions, only a handful of tracks truly match up to the reputation they demand. All that you could possibly need to know about the band spills out across "Heroin," "Waiting for the Man," "European Son," and "Venus in Furs," while the inclusion of "Sister Ray" ensures that even when things get mellow (as the band was surprisingly prone to do), the fission remains febrile. Add Nico's contributions to the canon, and a legend was already in place. Now all it needed was for somebody to step up to the plate and tell the world why it needed to hear this music.