This album features the first professional line up of the Velvet Underground, Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Maureen "Moe" Tucker, plus Nico singing on three tracks ("Femme Fatale", "All Tomorrow's Parties" and "I'll Be Your Mirror"). Most of the songs were recorded in April 1966 in a run-down recording studio before the band even had a contract. They were turned down by big-name labels such as Columbia, Atlantic Records and Elektra. Since Verve had just decided to include alternative music to their label, they picked up the group's recordings, put polish on some of the tunes and added "Sunday Morning", which was the prospective single for radio play.
"Much of what we take for granted in rock would not exist without this New York band or its seminal debut, The Velvet Underground and Nico: the androgynous sexuality of glitter; punk's raw noir; the blackened-riff howl of grunge and noise rock. It is a record of fearless breadth and lyric depth. " - www.rollingstone.com
The contents of the "Banana" album were very controversial in it's day, including references to drugs, transvestites and prostitution.
The Velvet Underground was little known during its lifetime; now, more than fifty years after the band collapsed, it has a world-wide following. This album, which is covered with the Andy Warhol banana artwork, is a must-have for fans of Velvet Underground.
"This seven-minute, two-chord track spiked out its territory with lyrics about shooting up until you felt like Jesus' son. 'It wasn't pro or con,' Reed said. 'It was about taking heroin from the point of view of someone taking it. I'm still not sure what was such a big deal. So there's a song called 'Heroin.' So what?' Drummer Moe Tucker disagreed: 'I consider it our greatest triumph.'" - Rolling Stone