70 FROM ’70 — THE TOP TEN — #6

6. VELVET UNDERGROUND — Loaded

The idea of a polished, commercial VU record seems an oxymoron. But Loaded is both. It may not have been a chart success at the time, but over the years Loaded has gained status and regard in critical circles; Rolling Stone’s list of the best 500 albums of all time included it at #110. Lou Reed’s vision is tempered by the pop contributions of Doug Yule and diluted by John Cale’s absence (he’d been gone since before the previous album was recorded).
In fact, Lou had finished with bands and left the VU a couple of months before Loaded was released. Nonetheless, with classic Reed songs such as “Sweet Jane” and “Rock and Roll”, plus “New Age” and “Oh! Sweet Nothin’”, this is the most upbeat dose of Lou Reed you can get and an accessible entry point to the Velvet Underground if the first two LPs are a bit intimidating.

 
Where does Loaded fall in the VU canon for you?

18 comments

  1. It ranks about fourth for me – despite Sweet Jane being one of my very favourites. Not quite so loaded with hits for me.

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    1. Fourth from 1970 or fourth in the VU catalogue? 😅

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  2. This has been popping up a lot for me lately

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loving the continuing journey through 1970, VC.

    In my personal VU canon, this one falls in the category of “Not One of the Two I Have;” the two being the first and & Nico. Even so and even without knowing much of Loaded beyond the well-known songs, I’d be surprised if this were a more upbeat dose of Lou Reed than his New Sensations album.

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    1. Ah, you have me there, Mr. Don’t know New Sensations. Having avidly followed all things Lou for many years, I kind of tailed off as the 70s ended. Upbeat, is it?
      And which two VU? (puzzled face)

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      1. I find it buoyant and happy. I have no scientific evidence for this but have always believed that Lou’s own surprise at the joy he was putting on wax is what led to the song and album title New Sensations. It was actually the first Lou Reed I ever owned so imagine my own eventual surprise…

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        1. (Guffaw) Imagine if you’d started with Metal Machine Music.

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  4. You like this way more than I do! Sweet Jane is classic though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do you have a favourite VU, Graham?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. First one – has John Cale, and they basically present all their innovative ideas there. Heroin and Venus in Furs are their two best songs IMO. I really like the third record too, though.

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  5. This is my favourite VU album. I think the Fully Loaded edition from 1997 makes a great album even better, with longer versions of Sweet Jane and Rock & Roll. Would others agree that the flat, tinny production on VU & Nico is horrible (brilliant songs though), and much of White Light/White Heat is smarty-pants noise. So it’s the 3rd s/t album, Loaded, and VU/Another VU for me.

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    1. I recall being slightly appalled by how ‘sweet’ some of Loaded was when I first encountered it, Dave. Although lots of the first album and indeed White Light/White Heat scared me, that was part of the appeal. Agree on the ‘VU’ post-script album too; excellent addition to the catalogue. Finally, do you like the live ‘1969’? It’s not many folks fave, but I love its laid back, cosy, stoned feel.

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      1. You’re right Bruce, it is “sweet” but it’s maybe a partial return to Lou Reed’s early music efforts when he wrote pop songs for the Pickwick (?) label. Yes I really like 1969 very much. I was going to include it in my first comment but I’m aware of my windbaggy tendency to write feature length articles on other people’s blogs, so I was trying to be polite!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Polite is good, but don’t be shy, Dave! One of the really nice things about splitting this final Top Ten into individual posts, is that it creates space for more dialogue. Go for your life!

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  6. Ha! Your comment sent me down a rabbit hole, JDB. Warhol’s album covers…
    A blog I follow (can’t recall the gentleman’s name) has a massive collection and you can use his ‘categories’ list (scroll down on the left) to find posts with Andy’s record covers…
    https://recordart.net/
    One of my favourites is Kenny Burrell’s ‘Blue Lights’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I present you a rabbit hole; you present me a rabbit hole…check this out: https://warholcoverart.com/!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. yes yes YES! That was the other blog I was searching for but couldn’t remember the name. Nice work, JDB.

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  7. Not a huge VU fan, though I do like Sweet Jane. I *love* the album art…way better than Warhol’s ho-hum banana on VU and Nico…

    Liked by 1 person

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