18. The Velvet Underground Loaded

(Atlantic, 1970)

The final album the Velvets would make before Lou Reed would leave the band to strike it out on his own, Loaded was famously conceived and titled following a meeting with Atlantic Records in which Reed was instructed to make an “album loaded with hits.”

And uncharacteristically, the notoriously deviant Reed went and did just that; creating an LP as beautiful and hook-laden as Loaded without denigrating the trailblazing legacy of what the band had done before.

Many of the songs that would become the band’s best known are here; the wonderfully melodic ’Sweet Jane’, playful homage to FM radio ’Rock & Roll’ and the stunning ‘New Age’.

Loaded hardly made a dent commercially upon release in 1970 but is still regarded by critics as a great success. Like the other three studio records in The Velvet Underground’s canon (and the 1985 compilation VU), this album is simply essential.

Try also: The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground & Nico (Verve 1967). VU (Polygram, 1985).