50 years ago, The Velvet Underground released their first album The Velvet Underground & Nico. And while the album never topped the charts, its influence you can’t deny. In a 1982 interview with Musician Magazine, Brian Eno famously said:
I was talking to Lou Reed the other day and he said that the first Velvet Underground record sold 30,000 copies in the first five years. The sales have picked up in the past few years, but I mean, that record was such an important record for so many people. I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band! So I console myself thinking that some things generate their rewards in a second-hand way.
“Sunday Morning” was the last song VU recorded for that album–a last ditch attempt to write a hit. According to Lou Reed, Andy Warhol, the band’s patron, suggested the theme for the song: “Andy said, ‘Why don’t you just make it a song about paranoia?’ I thought that was great so I came up with ‘Watch out, the world’s behind you, there’s always someone watching you,’ which I feel is the ultimate paranoid statement in that the world cares enough to watch you.” Writes Joe Harvard, in his short book on the album, the song “calls to mind a sleepy, quiet Sunday so perfectly that you can listen to the song repeatedly before registering what it’s really about: paranoia and displacement.”
Above, you watch a new animation created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Velvet Underground & Nico. Created by James Eads and Chris McDaniel, it’ll hopefully get your Sunday underway.
A Symphony of Sound (1966): Velvet Underground Improvises, Warhol Films It, Until the Cops Turn Up
The Velvet Underground & Andy Warhol Stage Proto-Punk Performance Art: Discover the Exploding Plastic Inevitable (1966)
Hear Lost Acetate Versions of Songs from The Velvet Underground & Nico (1966)