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|Compilation album by|
|Released||February 1985 (1985-02)|
|Recorded||1968–69, New York City|
|Producer||The Velvet Underground|
|The Velvet Underground chronology|
|Singles from VU|
Composition and collection
When the Velvet Underground moved from Verve Records (who had released their first two albums) to parent company MGM Records, they signed a two-album deal, releasing their third and eponymous album The Velvet Underground in March 1969. Later that same year there was a management change and MGM Records' new CEO, Mike Curb, was brought in to try to rescue the financially struggling label. He decided to purge the record company of its unprofitable acts. The Velvet Underground quickly became one of the groups targeted and were released from their contract. The band had in the meantime recorded 14 tracks for possible release as their second MGM album. All of these were shelved and forgotten by their record company until the early 1980s.
As Verve (by then an imprint of Polygram) prepared to re-release the band's three Verve/MGM albums on vinyl and CD, they found nineteen previously unreleased tracks: five Cale-era tracks and the 14 "lost album" tracks, some of them in two-track mixdown format, some of them even on multitracks. The cream of the nineteen tracks was released in 1985 as VU; the rest was released as Another View in 1986.
VU is a selection from the 1969 tracks as well as two previously unreleased Cale-era songs—"Temptation Inside Your Heart" and "Stephanie Says". Since most of the material was available on multitrack (only "Ocean" is included in its original 1969 mix), engineers were able to clean up and remix the tracks.
As the Velvet Underground moved from MGM to Atlantic, they re-recorded two of the songs on VU, "Ocean" and "I'm Sticking with You", for possible inclusion on Loaded. Neither made the cut, but six of the VU songs were recycled by Lou Reed during his solo career: "I Can't Stand It", "Lisa Says" and "Ocean" on Lou Reed, 1972; "Andy's Chest" on Transformer, 1972; "Stephanie Says" (as "Caroline Says II") on Berlin, 1973; and "She's My Best Friend" (which was originally sung by Doug Yule), was included on Coney Island Baby, 1976.
|Robert Christgau||(A) link|
|Rolling Stone||March 1985|
All tracks written by Lou Reed except where noted.
*The CD issue of VU omits the first few seconds of "Foggy Notion", which includes a practice guitar lick and the band members talking.
- All tracks appear on the box set Peel Slowly and See, except "She's My Best Friend", "Ocean" and "Andy's Chest". "Ocean" on Peel Slowly and See is a later version, recorded during the Loaded sessions April – June, 1970.
- The Velvet Underground
- John Cale – viola, celesta and backing vocals on "Stephanie Says", bass guitar and backing vocals on "Temptation Inside Your Heart"
- Sterling Morrison – guitar, backing vocals
- Lou Reed – vocals, guitar
- Maureen Tucker – percussion, lead vocals on "I'm Sticking with You"
- Doug Yule – bass guitar, keyboards, lead vocals on "She's My Best Friend", backing vocals on "I Can't Stand It", "Lisa Says", "Foggy Notion", "One of These Days", "Andy's Chest", piano and backing vocals on "I'm Sticking with You", lead guitar on "One of These Days"
- Technical staff
- The Velvet Underground – producers
- Gary Kellgren – engineer
- Bill Levenson – compilation executive producer
- J. C. Convertino – compilation engineer
VU is The Velvet Underground's highest charting album in the US, peaking at number 85 in the US Billboard charts on April 13th 1985. It remained in the Charts for 13 weeks.
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