The Velvet Underground & Nico  

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The Velvet Underground & Nico is the debut album by American rock band The Velvet Underground and vocal collaborator Nico. It was originally released in March 1967 by Verve Records. Recorded in 1966 during Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable multimedia event tour, The Velvet Underground & Nico would gain notoriety for its experimentalist performance sensibilities, as well as its focus on controversial subject matter expressed in many of their songs.

Reception and sales

Upon its original release, The Velvet Underground & Nico was largely unsuccessful by popular music standards and was a financial failure. The controversial content of the album led to its almost instantaneous ban from various record stores. Many radio stations refused to play the album and magazines refused to carry advertisements for it. Its lack of success can also be attributed to Verve, who failed to promote or distribute the album with anything but modest attention.

The album first entered the Billboard album charts on May 13, 1967 at #199 and left the charts on June 10, 1967 at #195. It then re-entered the charts on November 18, 1967 at #182, peaked at #171 on December 16, 1967 and finally left the charts on January 6, 1968 at #193. When Verve recalled the album in June due to Eric Emerson's lawsuit, it disappeared from the charts for five months.

The critical world also took little notice of the album. One of the few print reviews of the album in 1967 was a mostly positive review in the second issue of Vibrations, a small rock music magazine. The review described the music as "a full-fledged attack on the ears and on the brain" and took note of the dark subject matter to be found in the majority of the song's lyrics.

It was not until decades later that the album started to receive almost unanimous praise by numerous rock critics, many of whom made particular note of its influence in modern rock music. In April 2003, Spin led their "Top Fifteen Most Influential Albums of All Time" list with the album. On November 12, 2000, NPR included it in their "NPR 100" series of "the most important American musical works of the 20th century". Rolling Stone placed it at number 13 on their list of the 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time in November 2003 calling it the most prophetic rock album ever made.

In 1997, Velvet Underground & Nico was named the 22nd greatest album of all time in a Music of the Millennium poll conducted in the United Kingdom by HMV Group, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM. In his 1995 book, The Alternative Music Almanac, Alan Cross placed the album in the #1 spot on the list of "10 Classic Alternative Albums". In 2006, Q magazine readers voted it into 42nd place in the "2006 Q Magazine Readers' 100 Greatest Albums Ever" poll, while The Observer placed it at number 1 in a list of "50 Albums That Changed Music" in July of that year. Also in 2006, the album was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the 100 best albums of all time.


Frustrated by the album's year-long delay and unsuccessful release, Lou Reed's relationship with Andy Warhol grew tense until Reed finally fired Warhol as manager in favor of Steve Sesnick. Nico was also forced out of the group, though she would start a moderately successful career as a solo artist, releasing her debut solo album, Chelsea Girl, in October 1967. Chelsea Girl would feature five songs written by members of The Velvet Underground, including "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams", a song Reed wrote and recorded earlier with the aid of John Cale and Sterling Morrison in 1965.

Tom Wilson remained working with the group through 1967, producing their 1968 album White Light/White Heat and Nico's Chelsea Girl.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Velvet Underground & Nico" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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