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Rock Hall Anniversary: The Velvet Underground’s Third Self-Titled Album

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In March 1969, the Velvet Underground released their self titled third album. It marked a huge departure from the bands two previous work, as they moved away from the art punk that would eventually revolutionized rock music in the coming years, and instead turned to a sound, that would include ballads and straightforward rock songs.

But the music was not the only departure. The album would also be the first without producer John Cale, as the band produced themselves. According to members Lou Reed and Maureen Tucker, it was a chance to experiment with new sounds, and further move away from the Andy Warhol influence that was relevant on the first two albums (especially 1967’s The Velvet Underground and Nico). However, the influence of The Factory was there, especially with the opening track “Candy Says”, which was about Candy Darling a Warhol superstar and actress. Another notable track was “The Murder Mystery”, where all four band members spoke simultaneously throughout the track.

Like The Velvet Underground and Nico and White Light/White Heat, The Velvet Underground was not destined to be a pop hit, as the album would peak at number 199 on the charts. Two tracks “What Goes On” and “Pale Blue Eyes” were released as singles, but they didn’t chart as well. However, like the first two albums, and despite the album being compared to their debut, the critical acclaim outshines it’s commercial performance, as it is regarded as not only one of the Velvet Underground’s best works, but one of the greatest albums of all time.

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