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I came to this album late, after going through Lou Reed's output first. Being a high school student in the 80s my initial interest was of course music happening then, and was able to see Reed in concert during that time (he was incredible).

So then buying and listening to The Velvet Underground and Nico was sort of a let-down. Nico's singing was just weird, not enough of Lou's poetry and personality. But as the years have gone by I now respect what they did, and even enjoy the album to some degree on occasion.

A few years ago a friend of mine put his Top Ten Desert Island discs as a Facebook post and this was one of them. I was like really, you're only giving yourself ten albums to listen to and Velvet Underground and Nico is one of those ten? He replied in the affirmative.

Not me. Once every five or ten years is plenty for me. I mean, it is a somewhat sick affair. And I'm kind of opposite from you--I wasn't keen on what I heard of Lou Reed's solo stuff and haven't heard most of it. And the ragged, kind of amateurish quality of this album is part of what makes it work. I guess it's another one of those "maybe you had to be there" albums. But then there are all those people who weren't even born in 1967 who think it's great....

I started writing the Terry Allen review, so should have it to you by Monday.

I came to the album more in Stu's time, but sort of from Mac's direction. I had first heard some of Nico's solo work when a friend bought the Marble Index (which was actually frightening when I first heard it on a summer afternoon in 1984, but I was determined to like it). Then I started looking for The Velvet Underground and Nico. I went to school near Greenwich Village, which had lots of used record shops, so it wasn't too hard to locate. I think I paid $20 for it (which was a lot for me) - with a peeled, but restuck banana.

I liked a lot of it. I surprised when I first heard Sunday Morning because I had heard how dark and subversive the album was. But there's plenty of that. My favorite songs are the three that Nico sings. But Heroin is the most powerful song. Maybe I was too innocent (or too comfortable) to be beguiled, but I never thought it made being a junky sound appealing. It always struck me as a moving portrait of despair.

Later I sought Lou Reed's solo work (after getting the other VU albums). Most of his work in the 70s was pretty uneven. At most a couple of good songs on an album, but mostly not so good. In the 80s he released some good work. Growing Up In Public, The Blue Mask, and New York are my favorites of his solo albums.

My original copy of course had the peelable banana cover, but I don't have it anymore. Bought a used cd copy when I got a yen to hear it again.

"It always struck me as a moving portrait of despair." Yes, that was my reaction. There was even a certain romanticism about the despair, but it certainly didn't produce any desire in me to do the same.

I think The Marble Index *is* a little frightening. I didn't like it when it first came out and it was probably at least 20 years later that I heard it again and changed my mind.

Looking forward to your review, Stu.

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