Saturday, January 31, 2009

I have the Lou Reed, the Lou Reed for Speed...

Apart from what is absolutely my most pun-fueled, disgustingly over the top post headline ever, if you don't recognize the Andy Warhol painting above, consider yourself fortunate to have stumbled upon a legitimate classic rock gem. [Yes, this was the actual album cover for the Velvet Underground's debut LP.]

It's somewhat of a little known analogy that, (and please excuse the SAT format style,) in the late 1960s:

The Velvet Underground : New York ::: The Grateful Dead : San Francisco

What became known as the San Francisco sound, comprising bands as diverse as the aforementioned Dead, Quiksilver Messenger Service, Jefferson Airplane (later the Starship, or should I say, Starshit,) etc... definitely holds a big spot in my heart. Nevertheless, New York in the late 1960s was a much darker place musically. The NY psychedelic rock was much more "Helter Skelter" than it was "Maxwell Silver Hammer." Lou Reed wrote songs about deviant behavior; "love" is not a prominent lyrical theme; "heroin," however, is.

This album is supplanted by model/Andy Warhol wunderkind Nico. Here's a photo of her with the band in 1967. Lou Reed in the lower right:

She had an interesting look but I don't think she was on the album for her quote unquote singing talent though I would argue that she sounds great. She's listed in the liner notes as "chanteuse." Andy Warhol was the Velvet Underground's manager and the official producer of this album and hence responsible for Nico's inclusion. It failed commercially so Lou Reed fired him shortly after its release. I've never seen an original vinyl pressing of this album, but apparently the reason it says "Peel slowly and see" on the album cover is because the yellow bananas were printed as peelable stickers, under which was a supposed "nude" banana. Pretty cool stuff.

This album is a perfect Sunday morning wake-up record. Keep up the good funk; that shit makes me dance, embarassing though that may be...