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Published on Nov 5, 2011
The Velvet Underground is the third album The Velvet Underground. It was their first record to feature Doug Yule, John Cale's replacement. It was recorded in 1968 at TTG Studios in Hollywood, California. This album's softer sound marks a radical shift in approach in style from the group's previous recordings. In 2003, the album was ranked number 314 on Rolling Stone's "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list.
Lou Reed said "I really didn't think we should make another White Light/White Heat. I thought it would be a terrible mistake, and I really believed that. I thought we had to demonstrate the other side of us. Otherwise, we would become this one-dimensional thing, and that had to be avoided at all costs." Maureen Tucker said, "I was pleased with the direction we were going and with the new calmness in the group, and thinking about a good future, hoping people would smarten up and some record company would take us on and do us justice." Doug Yule said the album "was a lot of fun. The sessions were constructive and happy and creative, everybody was working together."
The Velvet Underground was the band's first album for MGM Records, the band's first two albums having been issued by MGM subsidiary and legendary jazz label, Verve Records. The previously strong Andy Warhol influence is diminished, with the most notable ties to The Factory being the cover and back photographs taken by Warholite Billy Name, and opening track "Candy Says," written about transsexual Candy Darling (who would later appear in Reed's 1972 song, "Walk On The Wild Side").
The record was produced by the band themselves, and issued in two different stereo mixes. The more widely distributed version is the one done by TTG staff recording engineer Val Valentin. The other mix was done by Lou Reed, and was dubbed the "Closet Mix" by guitarist Sterling Morrison. There are significant sonic differences in the mixes, but the most dramatic is that "Some Kinda Love" is an entirely different performance in the two versions.
The LP sleeve was designed by Dick Smith, then a staff artist at MGM/Verve.