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Trivia / Velvet Underground

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  • Big Name Fan: Czech president Vaclav Havel was a huge fan of the band. Other famous fans include David Bowie, Brian Eno, Patti Smith, Talking Heads, Ian Curtis, U2, Kurt Cobain and pretty much every band you've heard of over the last 25 years.
  • Black Sheep Hit: While not big hits, "Sweet Jane" and "Rock and Roll" are still their best-known songs. They're much more accessible than the band's earlier material.
    • "Who Loves the Sun" has been getting a lot more airplay on classic rock radio lately. Perhaps not coincidentally, these are the first three songs on Loaded.
  • Breakup Breakout: After Lou Reed quit, he went on to a solo career which was much more commercially successful than anything the VU did. John Cale has also had an impressive solo career.
  • Enforced Method Acting: How the Velvets got a good performance out of Nico on "I'll Be Your Mirror".
    Sterling Morrison: She kept singing "I'll Be Your Mirror" in her strident voice. Dissatisfied, we kept making her do it over and over again until she broke down and burst into tears. At that point we said, "Oh, try it just one more time and then fuck it — if it doesn't work this time, we're not going to do the song." Nico sat down and did it exactly right.
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    • And they loved her performance so much that when they played it live after she left, they would imitate her German accent.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • The villain here being their manager Steve Sesnick. Reed quit in 1970 mostly because he had had it with Sesnick and the record company's attempts to control his songwriting. He sent every other Velvet home but Yule when it was time to record Squeeze in England. He asked Yule and a new line-up to tour England but bailed on them right before the start, leaving them to try and finish the tour on their own.
    • Andy Warhol insisted that Nico join the band. This at least turned out to be a better decision compared to Sesnick's actions.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The reason there are any live recordings of them at all prior to the 1993 reunion tour; even the official live albums Live at Max's Kansas City and The Quine Tapes are very obvious bootleg recordings. The only live album from the original lifespan of the group that was professionally recorded was Live 1969, and even that's a case of this trope because the original four-track tapes the album was sourced from were lost for decades. The sources of the songs from the Matrix shows were eventually recovered and re-released in their entirety as The Complete Matrix Tapes, but the End of Cole Ave. shows still have not been.
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  • Missing Episode: A number of early songs were probably recorded but never released; others may never have been recorded at all. Here's a list. Many songs that were missing episodes have since been released. Indeed, an entire album's worth of material recorded before they were dropped from Verve (mostly recorded in between The Velvet Underground and Loaded, although two songs were from the band's abortive attempts at recording a third album with John Cale) was eventually released as VU, and several other songs from the same recording sessions (with both versions of "Hey Mr. Rain" being from the aborted Cale sessions) were released shortly thereafter as Another View. The two releases add up to over seventy minutes' worth of material. Countless other outtakes have been released on box sets and enhanced re-releases of albums, including four entire box sets devoted to The Velvet Underground & Nico, White Light/White Heat, The Velvet Underground, and Loaded respectively. It's also worth pointing out the vinyl box set The Verve / MGM Albums, which contains as a bonus LP another reconstruction of what the band's missing fourth Verve album might have sounded like, as well as the live collection The Complete Matrix Tapes, which compiles the complete recordings from one of only two times in their entire pre-reformation existence that the band were recorded professionally in a live setting.
  • Name's the Same: The Warlocks, the band's original name, was also that of The Grateful Dead.
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    • Believe it or not, there was actually a second band with the "Velvet Underground" name. They were based in Australia and featured a pre-AC/DC Malcolm Young.
  • Official Fan-Submitted Content: The Live at Max's Kansas City album came from a cassette provided by Warhol acolyte Brigid Polk. In fact, very nearly all of the officially released live material from the band's original run came from fans; even the show at End of Cole Ave. in Dallas that was used as one of the two sources for 1969: The Velvet Underground Live was only recorded professionally because a recording engineer happened to be in the audience and had brought along his gear. The Matrix at San Francisco, the other source for the 1969 album (and later, The Complete Matrix Tapes) was apparently the only time the band actually got to use an in-house recording deck.
  • The Pete Best: Angus MacLise dropped out of the band after they took their first paying gig — turned out he was one of those annoying Doing It for the Art people who didn't want to "sell out".
  • What Could Have Been:
    • There are no videos of the band's performances as part of Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable, and apart from 1969 Live and The Complete Matrix Tapes, none of the live recordings of the band during its initial incarnation were professionally made. Additionally, the John Cale era, regarded by many fans as the finest period of the band, was particularly sparsely recorded and there are no professional live recordings of that era. Since much of the band's material was only performed live, and they would regularly do improvisations that went up to half an hour or longer (see Epic Rocking on the main page), this is quite a loss for rock fans.
    • The material that made up VU and Another View was intended for a fourth MGM / Verve album.

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