Tuesday, 14 March 2017
Half A Century On
It was fifty years ago on Sunday past that the most influential album in rock music (in my opinion) was released. An album which as we all know bombed at the time, the world wasn't yet ready for the Velvet Underground and Nico, apart from a few thousand switched on people.
I often wonder what my record collection would have sounded like without the Velvets and have come to the conclusion that most of the music that I have bought and loved over the years from the Jesus and Mary Chain, through Spacemen 3/Spiritualized to current favourites Rancho Relaxo just wouldn't have existed, the influence of Reed, Cale Morrison and Tucker is so great. which leads me to reason that my listening habits would either be a lot blander or I would have become a tunnel visioned soulie with no time for anything else. Either way it would be much different to what it is today.
The Velvet Underground and Nico may not be my favourite these days but it still holds a special place in my heart. It has a bit of everything in there, darkness and light, brutal feedback and noise (European Son), the incredible tenderness of Sunday Morning, the cooler than cool swagger of I'm Waiting For The Man and much more besides. Although the album had been re-released in 1983 in the UK it was still quite difficult to get a hold of a copy in 1985 when it first came to my attention due to it being constantly mentioned in relation to The Jesus and Mary Chain who for me at that moment were the most exciting band around. I first got a copy of it on tape from the older brother of a friend who was into Orange Juice/Postcard and all that stuff. I procured my first copy of the LP in a swap deal for what I can't remember with a pal who like me had read all the hype and bought it when on holiday in the States listened to it and hated it. His loss my gain, doubly so as he also bought White Light.White Heat which he liked even less.
Run Run Run is one of the highlights of the album for me, christ they are all highlights, European Son, slightly less so. You can imagine my delight when watching The Whistle Test's Rock Around The Clock on BBC2 in 1986 when Echo and The Bunnymen and Billy Bragg covered it.
The Velvet Underground - Run Run Run