Velvet Underground 50th Anniversary Box Due

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To celebrate The Velvet Underground‘s 50th anniversary, Verve Records/UMe is releasing The Velvet Underground, a limited-edition career-spanning boxed set that collects all four of the band’s studio albums, Velvets collaborator Nico’s debut LP, Chelsea Girl, and a reconstruction of the fabled “lost” 1969 album, making it available on vinyl for the first time. The six albums housed in a special black slipcase will be pressed on 180-gram black vinyl and feature stereo mixes and reproduced original cover art. The box will also include an exclusive 48-page booklet, featuring vintage photos, lyrics and a new foreword penned by founding member Maureen “Moe” Tucker. Limited to 1,000 copies worldwide, the boxed set, which will be released February 23, is available for pre-order now exclusively here.

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Assembled by Grammy-winning reissue producer Bill Levenson, The Velvet Underground, according to a press release, “incorporates six classic records from the band’s vintage heyday including 1967’s The Velvet Underground and Nico, their landmark debut, produced by the band’s mentor Andy Warhol and includes such Velvets classics as ‘Sunday Morning,’ ‘I’m Waiting for the Man,’ ‘Venus in Furs’ and ‘Heroin; Nico’s 1967 full-length solo debut Chelsea Girl, featuring songwriting and instrumental contributions from Velvets members Lou Reed, John Cale and Sterling Morrison as well as a young Jackson Browne; 1968’s explosive White Light/White Heat, the group’s final album with co-founder Cale; 1969’s relatively restrained, introspective The Velvet Underground; and 1970’s Loaded, which was the band’s commercial breakthrough as well as its final studio album, with such beloved Reed anthems as ‘Sweet Jane’ and ‘Rock & Roll.’”

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The Velvet Underground. l. to r. at top are Sterling Morrison, Nico, Maureen Tucker and John Cale. Lou Reed is at bottom right

To honor the band’s half-century legacy, the release says, Levenson has “loving recreated the Velvet Underground’s much-mythologized ‘lost’ album, 1969, specially for this set. Nearly 50 years later, much remains unclear about these mysterious recordings. While there have been reports that the album was intended to be the band’s fourth record only to be rejected by MGM, it’s also possible they were scrapped by the band or possibly shelved by them for being ahead of its time. Whatever the real story is, these songs, recorded just after their lauded self-titled album, which include many gems like ‘Foggy Notion,’ ‘Ride Into the Sun’ and ‘I Can’t Stand It’ help to tell the band’s enigmatic story and shine a light on their creative restlessness and rapid evolution.

For this new vinyl recreation, Levenson has assembled the album using 1969 and 2014 mixes. Although these recordings have been previously released, they’ve never been represented on vinyl in this expansive 2-LP format. Side four of the second LP is rounded out with bonus tracks recorded in 1968 including “Hey Mr. Rain” and “Stephanie Says.”

Watch an hour-long film of the Velvet Underground and Nico from 1966


Best Classic Bands Staff

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