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Rock Legends: The Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground

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Album Review

Polydor's Rock Legends collects 15 tracks from proto-punk icons the Velvet Underground, touching on each of the band's four classic albums. A single-disc VU anthology such as this has been attempted before, most notably in 2006 on the 18-track Very Best of the Velvet Underground. Both collections are nearly identical, with the latter winning out simply for sheer volume, but pale in comparison to the reissued versions of the four original studio recordings. Listeners looking to bypass that route and stick with a "one-off" compilation should check out 2005's Chronicles and Gold, both of which rely on two discs to tell their stories.

Biography

Formed: 1964 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '90s

Few rock groups can claim to have broken so much new territory, and maintain such consistent brilliance on record, as the Velvet Underground during their brief lifespan. It was the group's lot to be ahead of, or at least out of step with, their time. The mid- to late '60s was an era of explosive growth and experimentation in rock, but the Velvets' innovations — which blended the energy of rock with the sonic adventurism of the avant-garde, and introduced a new degree of social realism and sexual...
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