Rock ‘n’ roll pioneers The Velvet Underground put out their debut record The Velvet Underground & Nico 50 years ago, and co-founder John Cale commemorated the occasion by playing a series of anniversary concerts during the fall at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Now, Verve Records is prolonging the celebration by releasing a career-spanning box set assembled by Grammy-winning producer Bill Levenson, aptly titled The Velvet Underground, next year.
Limited to only 1000 copies, the box set collects all four of the iconic band’s studio albums—1967’s The Velvet Underground & Nico, 1968’s White Light/White Heat, 1969’s The Velvet Underground and 1970’s Loaded—along with a recreation of their mythologized “lost” album 1969, as well as the debut album of Velvets collaborator Nico, 1967’s Chelsea Girl, which featured contributions from Lou Reed, Cale and Sterling Morrison. Also included with the albums, which are pressed on 180-gram black vinyl and contained in a special black slipcase, is a 48-page booklet that shows off vintage photographs of the band, lyrics and a forward penned by drummer Moe Tucker.
1969 is fabled to have been intended as the Velvets’ fourth LP, but it was rejected by MGM. Another rumor suggests that it was shelved by the band for being ahead of its time. Whatever the case may be, tracks from the effort did make it onto other albums and compilations, but for the first time, they are appearing together on vinyl, assembled using 1969 and 2014 mixes.
The Velvet Underground is due out on Feb. 23. See the tracklist for each of the albums and preorder it here. While you await the delivery of your copy, revisit our list of the 20 best Velvet Underground songs, and watch Reed’s performance of “Pale Blue Eyes” via the Paste Cloud below.