10 Songs, 59 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Despite a lack of commercial success, the Velvet Underground was among the most influential bands of the late ‘60s, pioneering several different approaches to rock writing and performance that resonated throughout the punk, new wave, no wave, and post-punk eras that followed. By 1969, the band had replaced its aggressive avant-garde bassist-violist John Cale with the more conventional Doug Yule and the band took on a less confrontational stance. At the time, the Velvets’ version of rock n’ roll was still considered unusual, but listening with modern ears, their influence fully absorbed by the mainstream, theirs is the sound of an excellent, competent band running through an exemplary set of tunes. Initially released as a two-LP set but released as separate volumes on CD, 1969, recorded in Dallas and San Francisco, captures Reed in spirited voice and performance: “What Goes On” churns for a propulsive nine minutes; “Heroin” retains its defiant empathy; the versions of “New Age” and “Femme Fatale” are an excellent example of a band able to present calm, reflective material without losing its aggressive edge.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Despite a lack of commercial success, the Velvet Underground was among the most influential bands of the late ‘60s, pioneering several different approaches to rock writing and performance that resonated throughout the punk, new wave, no wave, and post-punk eras that followed. By 1969, the band had replaced its aggressive avant-garde bassist-violist John Cale with the more conventional Doug Yule and the band took on a less confrontational stance. At the time, the Velvets’ version of rock n’ roll was still considered unusual, but listening with modern ears, their influence fully absorbed by the mainstream, theirs is the sound of an excellent, competent band running through an exemplary set of tunes. Initially released as a two-LP set but released as separate volumes on CD, 1969, recorded in Dallas and San Francisco, captures Reed in spirited voice and performance: “What Goes On” churns for a propulsive nine minutes; “Heroin” retains its defiant empathy; the versions of “New Age” and “Femme Fatale” are an excellent example of a band able to present calm, reflective material without losing its aggressive edge.

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