IT'S been hailed as the number one album "that changed music forever" and has been lauded by both NME and Rolling Stone as one of the greatest records of all time.
Now The Velvet Underground & Nico is to be performed live in Liverpool by one of its creators, it is revealed today.
Global music legend John Cale was in the city today to announce he will play a single European show at Clarence Dock to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the revolutionary "Banana sleeve" album whose artwork was created by collaborator Andy Warhol.
After a recent live concert at the Philharmonie de Paris to celebrate the 1967 release, Cale has decided to perform it in its entirety only twice more - in New York City and in Liverpool, the port he sailed to NYC from in the early 1960s, a young classical music student from Wales.
A statement explained the choice of Liverpool as "a city that resonates with him due to its rich, diverse and cutting edge musical history, the perfect environment to hold this special anniversary of something so personal to him".
It hinted at a number of "very high profile" support acts.
Cale, 74, said: “I'm often reluctant to spend too much time on things past - then, a time marker shows up - The Velvet Underground & Nico turns fifty! As so many bands can attest to, it is the fulfillment of the ultimate dream to record your first album.
"We were an unfriendly brand, dabbling in a world of challenging lyrics and weird sonics that didn't fit into anyone's playlist at the time. Remaining ferociously true to our viewpoints, Lou and I never doubted for a moment we could create something to give a voice to things not regularly explored in rock music at the time. That bizarre combination of four distinctly disparate musicians and a reluctant beauty queen perfectly summed up what it meant to be The Velvet Underground.”
Formed in 1964 by Cale, Lou Reed, guitarist Sterling Morrison and drummer Angus Maclse (who was later replaced by Maureen Tucker) The Velvet Underground led the New York avant garde. At one point they were managed by Warhol, serving as the house band at the Factory and Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable events.
Although major commercial success eluded them, their music drove the later development of punk rock and alternative music and is now recognized as among the most influential acts of the era with bands from Talking Heads to Echo and the Bunnymen citing them as a driving force.
Indeed, it was Brian Eno who observed that while The Velvet Underground and Nico album sold only 30,000 copies in its early years, "everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band".
The "reimagined" show - aka muso's jackpot - will be staged on Friday 26th May at Clarence Dock. Liverpool Sound City is one of the promoters, although the gig is not part of the Bank Holiday weekend festival which kicks off the following day. Tickets, which go on sale this Friday, are expected to be snapped up in minutes.
Organisers describe the Mersey venue as "a bespoke open-air stage facing out to the Atlantic ocean and New York City in the heart of Liverpool’s historic docklands. An incredible post-industrial façade it is the ideal setting for the performance of a record forged in Warhol’s arthouse crucible of 1960’s New York. This is the only chance that fans of The Velvet Underground will get to consume this crucial and unique piece of musical history."
Closer to the show Cale is expected to announce a phalanx of high profile collaborators from across the musical spectrum to join him live on stage. This year’s Paris concert featured The Libertines, Animal Collective and Mark Lanegan and Cale has promised an equally impressive line-up for the Liverpool celebration.