5: THE VELVET UNDERGROUND – ‘LOADED’

Lou Reed’s last album with the Velvet Underground was a breakaway from their association with Andy Warhol’s Factory, into more “commercial songs”. Though credited on the sleeve, drummer Moe Tucker, who was pregnant at the time, was replaced by bassist Doug Yule, his brother Billy, and sound engineer Adrian Barber. Reed allegedly quit over unauthorised editing of the album, in particular the track “Sweet Jane”.

Wendy James: ‘I chose Loaded because it’s got two of my favorite VU tunes on it: “Sweet Jane” and “Rock & Roll”. Also “Lonesome Cowboy Bill” and “Oh! Sweet Nuthin”. (I also love when Lou Reed does his solo versions of these songs on Rock N Roll Animal…)

‘I got into the Velvet Underground when I was 15-years-old or something… I guess the Warhol/Factory/Edie Sedgwick/Nico thing pulled me in, the manifesto and talent of Warhol, and the Look of Edie and Nico, and the Vibe of the scene going on in the The Factory, I just wanted in on this. I wanted to look like them, dance like them, party like them, live like them! Warhol is a close relative in agitprop to McLaren, they’re both taking similar pages out of the same book, obviously McLaren was influenced by Warhol, and of course, the Velvets had the New York Scene which everyone from Dylan to Drag Queens played a part in. To my mind, and I am far from alone in this, Lou Reed is one of the greatest songwriters and performers, ever, in the history of the world, from the time of the Velvets through to his solo work, his output, his legacy of music is phenomenal. Just like the Pistols, The Stones, The Stooges, The Velvets sounded like and expressed a whole thing that was rising up, going on underground, they sound like the time they come from, but ahead of the curve… and obviously, all these scenes crossed over: Warhol did Stones artwork, Danny Fields a member of The Factory ‘discovered’ The Stooges. And in my own little way too, many decades after all this had happened, I took my own little pieces of it for myself… When Transvision Vamp first arrived in NYC, with our album Pop Art, it was all the living members of The Factory that threw me a ‘Welcome to New York’ party, I remember sitting with Danny and asking him many ‘teenage’ questions about Edie, and of course last year I teamed up with James Williamson who has his own memories of Danny involved with The Stooges, and so on, and so on… I have spent a few nights in the company of Paul Morrissey when various exhibitions have gone on show here in NY, and Transvision Vamp opened for Lou around Europe on a tour. So… It’s all related, and I’m sure if I stopped to think further, there would be more examples… Anyway! “Rock & Roll” is the track I pick from Loaded.

Favourite Track: “Rock & Roll”

for number 6 in Wendy James top 10 favourite albums please click here

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