Offered for sale is an original Japanese first pressing of The Velvet Underground & Nico, by the Velvet Underground, complete with obi and peelable banana.
About this copy: This copy is a M- original Japanese pressing, complete with obi, peelable banana and lyric insert.
Though the album was released in the United States in 1967, the album wasn’t released in Japan until 1973. It’s been reissued there at least three times since, but the original pressings have the purple and yellow obi with the ¥2300 price.
The original Japanese pressings did not have a gatefold cover, and the back cover photo is the airbrushed version, showing Lou Reed but not showing Eric Emerson. The banana is 100% intact; no attempt has been made to peel it.
The cover, record and obi are M-. The obi has a very small tear (1/4″) at the top edge. The record has a single spindle mark on one side, but other than that, it looks essentially unplayed. The original lyric insert is included.
An absolutely gorgeous copy of a classic album.
Background: The 1967 debut by the Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground & Nico, sold poorly in its initial release, and given that the record company had to make multiple changes to the already-expensive, Andy Warhol-designed cover, the album almost certainly lost money for the record company. Despite that, people, especially other musicians, managed to hear it, and today, the album is rightly regarded as one of the most influential albums in rock history.
AllMusic.com gave the album five stars, saying:
One would be hard-pressed to name a rock album whose influence has been as broad and pervasive as The Velvet Underground & Nico. While it reportedly took over a decade for the album’s sales to crack six figures, glam, punk, new wave, goth, noise, and nearly every other left-of-center rock movement owes an audible debt to this set. While The Velvet Underground had as distinctive a sound as any band, what’s most surprising about this album is its diversity…. While the significance of Nico’s contributions have been debated over the years, she meshes with the band’s outlook in that she hardly sounds like a typical rock vocalist, and if Andy Warhol’s presence as producer was primarily a matter of signing the checks, his notoriety allowed The Velvet Underground to record their material without compromise, which would have been impossible under most other circumstances. Few rock albums are as important as The Velvet Underground & Nico, and fewer still have lost so little of their power to surprise and intrigue more than 40 years after first hitting the racks.
The album drew attention for a number of reasons, including the cover art, which depicted a banana with the curious caption, “Peel slowly and see.” Most buyers peeled the sticker back to see what was underneath, and were probably disappointed to realize that what was underneath was essentially an image of a peeled banana, albeit a pink one. Finding original pressings today with the banana intact can be a chore, especially if you’re looking for one that isn’t a cutout. Sealed copies, particularly of the mono edition, can sell for several thousand dollars on the rare occasions when they turn up for sale.
The album was issued in a number of other countries, with some variations in the cover.
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