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The Velvet Underground & Nico - 45th Anniversary [Remastered] Original recording remastered

4.5 out of 5 stars 417 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, October 30, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Digitally remastered edition of this classic 1967 album, a collaboration between New York art rockers The Velvet Underground and German vocalist Nico. From the Andy Warhol-designed banana cover to the music contained within, The Velvet Underground & Nico has become one of the most influential albums in Rock history.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 30, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Polydor
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (417 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #256,798 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is by far the best reissue of the year, perhaps of all time. Truly glorious packaging: a weighty coffee-table-sized book, magnificently illustrated and penned by Velvet Underground authority, Richie Unterberger (although there are more photographs than words). Obviously made for profit, but also a labor of love.

Disc One: An incredibly-clear remastering, better than any that have gone before, the equal of the long out-of-print MFSL version. Finishes with bonus tracks: the familiar single-voice All Tomorrow's Parties and a previously unheard instrumental backing-track of the same. Also has alternate versions of European Son and Herion, and a great alternate mix of I'll Be Your Mirror with Nico's laughter at the end.

Disc Two: As with disc one, the best-sounding mono version yet with the two mono singles as bonuses. This is the way the album was originally recorded, so this is the definitive version. Thunderous.

Disc Three: Chelsea Girl, put here because on Nico's firt solo album, she was backed by Reed, Cale, Morrison and Jackson Browne. They wrote the majority of the songs too. Kind of like a gentle version of VU&N, but unfortunately, originally ruined with spurious and later added bogus strings and a flute, which could not be removed here because they could not find the original master, but yet again, the best sounding version yet.

Disc Four: The Scepter Studio version. Never mind the bootlegs; here the sound improvement is very dramatic, now elevated to nearly the same sound quality as the official mono version. Please note there a couple of seconds of pop and click during Run Run Run. Maureen Tucker's one of only two existing acetate records served as the main source for these.
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Format: Audio CD
The Velvet Underground was little known during its lifetime; now, more than thirty years after the band collapsed, it has a world-wide following--but the band's music still tends to divide listeners. You either get it or you don't. For those who DO get it, this recording, with its Andy Warhol-designed "Peel Slowly and See" cover, is a must-have.

Both Lou Reed and Nico possessed flat sounding voices, and John Cale compensated for this by down-tuning his various stringed instruments--and then the band as a whole down-tuned to Cale's pitch. This creates a slightly off-kilter, droning tone... and the result is a strangely hypnotic, frequently dark, and often unnerving sound that swirls around the songs' street-tough lyrics. At worst, it is at least interesting; at best, it is completely original. Several of the cuts have a distinct pop inflection, but the band subverts them; "Femme Fatale" has a mocking tone, and both "Sunday Morning" and "I'll Be Your Mirror" have a decidedly paranoid quality. But the cuts for which this album is most famous are about as far removed from pop as you can get: the strange exotic stutter of "All Tomorrow's Parties;" the pitch black and street scary tone of "Heroin" and "I'm Waiting For My Man;" and the whip-like accompaniment on the S&M-oriented "Venus In Furs"--all of them frequently imitated but seldom equaled. The most extreme edge of the band is captured in such selections as "The Black Angel's Death Song," a piece so far out that The Velvet Underground were actually fired from a bar gig for playing it one time too many for the management's liking.
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Format: Audio CD
Of the many impressive facets of the Velvet Underground's debut, perhaps the most impressive of all is how completely undated it sounds. While those who followed in the VU's footsteps often sounded retro -- often purposefully so -- this gritty, thirty-five year-old creation seems not to have aged a day.

Polydor's latest double-disc reissue collects both the mono and stereo mixes of the original album, digitally remastered, and adds contemporaneous singles and a quintet of VU-powered tracks from Nico's subsequent "Chelsea Girl" album. The package is enveloped in a foldout digipack (with or without peelable banana artwork), with a thick booklet that includes newly penned liner notes from Dave Thompson, photos, song lyrics and recording credits.

Of particular interest to U.S. buyers is the mono album mix, previously available only outside the U.S. This is the band's vision of the album, later remixed into stereo by MGM staff producer (and, at the time, Simon & Garfunkel producer) Tom Wilson. The mono version is tougher, and in the opinion of the band's label at the time, too limiting for American audiences (both for its intensity, and for the US's burgeoning interest in stereo). The difference in atmosphere is a terrific lesson in how mixing affects an album, and how visceral mono recordings can be.

The bonus tracks include five sides waxed by Nico with the original lineup of the Velvet Underground for her solo debut. Recorded in April 1967, they followed the band's original recording dates by exactly a year (the VU debut, recorded in April 1966, did not see release until March of the following year).
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The Velvet Underground & Nico - 45th Anniversary [Remastered]
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