Thursday, October 27, 2011

Great Album Covers: The Velvet Underground & Nico

The first Velvet Underground was one of those fine meetings of high art (Andy Warhol, who probably wouldn't consider himself high art, but he sure wasn't blue collar) and low art (The Velvet Underground, led by the poet of the streets and urban decay himself, Lou Reed). It's hard to imagine a rock band getting away with what they did with the backing of Warhol, but then again, he was only really involved at the start. The second record was way more experimental and dissonant, for starters...

But I digress. I find it kind of odd that there doesn't seem to be a definitive version of this cover. Some omit any text at all. Some have Andy Warhol's name but not the name of the band; some have it the other way around. Some add the famous "peel slowly and see" small text near the stem of the banana. Some even have a special peel off sticker, revealing a naked bright pink inner banana once the skin sticker is off.

In any case, the use of existing paintings or photographs usually makes for great album covers, but I like this one the most. I think it was one of the first cases where an established artist made something new for an album cover and didn't simply allow them to use an old work. Though I could be wrong, as I'm not too familiar with Warhol's history.

No comments: