The Velvet Underground Singles 1966-69 1966-69 45rpm 7" Vinyl Box Set (Mono)
Featured in Michael Fremer's Heavy Rotation in the November 2009 Issue of Stereophile!
The Velvet Underground Singles 1966-69 is a seven-disc box set honoring the
legendary New York combo's 7" vinyl output in their rare mono versions. The set
features exact reproductions of Velvet Underground singles, two of them with
their original picture sleeves. The singles are packaged in a distinctively
designed box, along with rare vintage photos and new liner notes by Rolling
Stone's David Fricke (who also penned the acclaimed notes for the historic 1995
Velvets CD box set Peel Slowly and See).
The Velvet Underground - whose membership included Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling
Morrison, Maureen Tucker, Doug Yule and Nico - introduced numerous sonic and
thematic innovations that laid much of the groundwork for punk and alternative
rock. Although they're now acknowledged as one of the most influential bands in
rock history, during their existence the Velvets barely registered on mainstream
radar, and were often reviled by mainstream observers as well as hippie-era
arbiters of cool. But, as Fricke writes in the new set's liner notes,
"Somewhere, in another rock & roll universe, the Velvet Underground are more
than a legendary band. They are stars, with hit singles - the original
seven-inch masterpieces inside this box."
Although they never came close to scoring a hit, the Velvet Underground was
ideally suited to the 7" single format. "The Velvet Underground were a great
singles band," David Fricke notes, adding that the Velvets "Invented modern rock
with searing guitar distortion, throbbing improvisation and brutally realistic
tales of life on the wild side. But they did it all in these classic pop songs -
compact miracles of raw drive, intimate beauty and Top 40 ecstasy, heard again
in the original, thrilling mono singles mixes."
The seven singles included in The Velvet Underground Singles 1966-69 comprise
the four Velvets singles originally released in the U.S. on the Verve and MGM
labels, plus an additional pair of singles that were prepared for release but
never made it to the marketplace and a special radio-only promotional single.
The singles feature alternate mono versions that differ in significant ways from
the songs' better-known stereo album version. For instance, the band's 1966
debut single "All Tomorrow's Parties" appears here in a special mono edit that
amplifies the song's melodic beauty and sonic tension, and a mono mix of their
sophomore single "Sunday Morning" emphasizes the song's haunting quality.
Meanwhile, the mono single version of White Light / White Heat" exemplifies the
vintage Velvets' stark, distortion-laden fury, while a mono edit of "What Goes
On" accentuates that song's inherent pop jangle.
The Velvet Underground Singles 1966-69 also includes two unissued singles, one
with a never-released pairing of "White Light/White Heat" backed by "I Hear Her
Call My Name" and the other with "Temptation Inside Your Heart" and "Stephanie
Says", recorded in the waning days of the band's classic
Reed/Cale/Morrison/Tucker lineup and unheard by the public for nearly two
decades thereafter. The set's seventh single is a reproduction of a vintage
promotional disc, a two-and-a-half minute radio spot promoting the band's
eponymous third album and featuring legendary disc jockey Bill "Rosko" Mercer,
with excerpts from "I'm Set Free", "What Goes On" and "Beginning to See the
Light", as well as a picture sleeve with an un-airbrushed variation on the
album's iconic cover art.
By presenting the Velvets as a singles band, The Velvet Underground Singles
1966-69 collection shows, in David Fricke's words, "rock history the way it
should have been: the Velvet Underground as the New York Beatles, guaranteed to
blow up your radio and your mind."
• 7" Vinyl Singles
• 7LP Box Set
• Rare Mono Singles
• Exact reproduction singles
• Packaged in distinctively designed box
• Rare vintage photos
• New liner notes by Rolling Stone's David Fricke
• 7th single features picture sleeve - un-airbrushed variation on the album's
iconic cover art
A. All Tomorrow's Parties
B. I'll Be Your Mirror
A. Sunday Morning
B. Femme Fatale
A. White Light/White Heat
B. Here She Comes Now
A. White Light/White Heat
B. I Heard Her Call My Name (Cancelled Single)
A. Temptation Inside Your Heart
B. Stephanie Says (Cancelled Single)
A. What Goes On
A. VU Radio Spot