Genere: Proto Punk, Experimental Rock, Indie
Similar artists: Television, Leonard Cohen, Big Star
Recording year : Polydor, 1995. (Original recordings from July '65 - August '70)
The Velvet Underground was an American experimental rock band formed in New York City, New York. First active from 1965 to 1973, their best-known members were Lou Reed and John Cale, who both went on to find success as solo artists. Although never commercially successful while together, the band is often cited by many critics as one of the most important and influential groups of their era and to many future musicians.
Conformed by: Lou Reed (vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano); John Cale (vocals, acoustic & electric violas, sarinda, piano, organ, celeste, bass); Doug Yule (vocals, guitar, piano, organ, bass); Sterling Morrison (vocals, guitar, bass); Maureen "Moe" Tucker (vocals, percussion); Billy Yule (drums).
The Velvet Underground first gained a degree of fame and notoriety in New York City in 1966 when they were selected as the house band for Andy Warhol's Factory and his Exploding Plastic Inevitable events. The band's music and lyrics challenged conventional societal standards of the time, and broke ground for other musicians to do the same. The band favored experimentation, and also introduced a nihilistic outlook through some of their music. Their outsider attitude and experimentation has since been cited as pivotal to the rise of punk rock and, later, alternative rock.This box set includes complete and digitally remastered versions of all four of the band's studio albums released by the Lou Reed-led lineup, and a wealth of previously unreleased goodies.
Most serious Velvet fans have all four of the core studio albums already (although the third, self-titled LP is presented in its muffled, so-called "closet" mix), and will be most interested in the previously unavailable recordings, which do hold considerable fascination. The entire first disc is devoted to a drummer-less 1965 rehearsal tape in John Cale's loft, with radically different, almost folky run-throughs of most of the important songs from their classic debut, as well as a song that only made it onto Nico's first LP ("Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams"), and one which makes its first appearance anywhere (the Dylanesque "Prominent Men"). Other big bonuses include no less than seven outtakes from Loaded and other songs re-done by Reed on his early solo albums. And there are sundry other unreleased live and studio items, highlighted by a scorching live 1967 "Guess I'm Falling in Love" and the 1969 demo "Countess From Hong Kong."
There are also highlights from VU and Another View, longer versions of Loaded's "Sweet Jane" and "New Age," and an 80-page booklet. The thing is, though, that virtually everyone who's interested in this material has already bought the four studio albums, sometimes several times over. A separate release of the two discs or so of truly new material would have been welcomed by the many fans who aren't interested in paying for a five-CD box of stuff when they already have well over half of it.
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Fields Of Haze.