John Cale to play Velvet Underground and Nico live – Find out what’s in our ‘V.U. Top 3’

From the BBC

John Cale said it was time to put the album ‘into perspective’ (ANDY HUGHES)

The Velvet Underground’s John Cale is to perform the band’s legendary album The Velvet Underground and Nico live in Liverpool next year for the 50th anniversary of its release.

Cale and guests will play the seminal rock group’s debut album in full.

The Liverpool date will take place at Clarence Dock on 26 May.

Cale told BBC News: “We were all really proud of what we did so it was time to have a look at it with some new voices and new presentations.”

The Velvet Underground and Nico, with its famous banana LP cover designed by Andy Warhol, was not a commercial success when it was released in March 1967.

But it has come to be seen as one of the most influential albums of all time, with tracks including I’m Waiting for the Man, All Tomorrow’s Parties and I’ll Be Your Mirror.

Andy Warhol designed what has become one of the most famous record covers in rock (Shutterstock)


Brian Eno once said that the album only sold 30,000 copies during its first five years but that “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band”.

The Velvet Underground formed after Cale moved from his home in Carmarthenshire, south west Wales, to New York and met singer Lou Reed in 1964. Thursday will be the third anniversary of Reed’s death.

Cale, who played viola, piano and bass guitar on their first album, said it was time to put the record “into perspective”.

Special guests

He continued: “I’d shied away from looking at it for a long time but it really deserved to get its due.

“It stands up. It still encapsulates everything we were trying to do, which was take rock ‘n’ roll in a different direction and talk about subject matter that generally wasn’t talked about, and using arrangements and atmospheres and noises that weren’t generally in the vocabulary of the day.”

Speaking about next year’s shows, he said: “We’re going to do our best to keep everything as it was, but not keep out any new ideas of what the songs are about.

“There will be a lot of characters. I’m going to find some really good personas to come and join and it will be great.”

Cale performed the album in Paris in April with special guests including The Libertines, Animal Collective, Mark Lanegan and Lemon Jelly.

Tickets for the Liverpool show go on sale at 09:00 BST on Friday 28 October.

If you’re looking for Velvet Underground vinyl, CDs and more, here’s our current Top 3 items in stock, to see more click here

VELVET UNDERGROUND Head Held High / Train Round The Bend: Limited edition 2016 French-only sealed 7″ EP, pressed exclusively on Yellow Vinyl to celebrate the opening of the Velvet Underground – New York Extravaganza exhibition at the Philharmonie in Paris, & originally only available at the fnac stores & the Philarmonie de Paris, picture sleeve, more info here
VELVET UNDERGROUND White Light / White Heat: Limited edition 2016 UK sealed 6-track LP, the cult 1968 Velvets album ending on the full seventeen minute glorious racket of Sister Ray, pressed on 180gram White Vinyl as part of the Back ToBlack series & housed in a heavy duty picture sleeve in custom stickered shrink. Includes a voucher to download an mp3 version of the album, more info here
VELVET UNDERGROUND Velvet Underground & Nico: 2012 UK Super Deluxe 45th Anniversary Edition 6-CD Set – This celebratory 6-disc set includes both stereo and mono versions remastered from the original tapes, alongside previously unreleased recordings of the band’s rehearsals in Warhol’s Factory and the subsequent rare April 1966 Scepter Studios recordings captured on acetate featuring early, alternate versions of songs later issued on ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’. The set also features a previously unavailable November 1966 live concert performed by the Velvets’ original, five-person lineup [Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Moe Tucker and Nico] at the Valleydale Ballroom in Columbus, Ohio, plus Nico’s Chelsea Girl, an album released in October 1967 [seven months after the Velvets’ disc] which included all the members of the band as well as a teenage folksinger named Jackson Browne. Housed in a deluxe sealed & stickered 11.5 x 10in hardback book with replica ‘peel slowly’ banana sticker plus an 88-page booklet featuring a new essay by band biographer Richie Unterberger! More info here
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