Lou Reed’s final album with The Velvet Underground, Loaded, will be getting the box set treatment. Following 45th anniversary box sets for The Velvet Underground & Nico, White Light/White Heat, and self-titled album The Velvet Underground over the last few years, the band’s 1970 record will be re-released in style.
Coming October 30, the six-disc set will feature the remastered album in stereo and mono, unreleased live recordings, demos, outtakes, a remaster of the Live at Max’s Kansas City LP, and hi-def surround sound mixes. The 1970 record was named Loaded after a push from the band’s label (Atlantic Records’ subsidiary Cotillion) to make an album ‘loaded with hits.’
“When we went to do Loaded the push was for FM hits and FM jingles which was hot in those days,” said bassist/vocalist Doug Yule to Vice’s music outlet Noisey last year. “There was a lot of time spent ‘pep-talking’ Lou about hits and singles and like, three-minute songs, stuff like that. So when we went in to do Loaded there was this pressure on Lou and he started cranking up the heat on the tunes. Stuff like Head Held High was specifically designed, edited, and produced to be a three-minute single. It started out much more downtempo and mellow.”
While the record and much of the associated material in the box set is already available, all of the audio is remastered. There are also two previously unreleased singles: Rock & Roll and Lonesome Cowboy Bill.
One of the discs, Live At Max’s Kansas City, was the recording from Reed’s last performance with the band on August 23, 1970. The other full live disc in the set is a previously unreleased club performance from May 9, 1970 in Philadelphia. Bob Kachnycz, a fan who hitchhiked to the show, originally recorded that performance on reel-to-reel. For that show, guitarist Sterling Morrison and Yule alternated between bass and drums to fill in for drummer Moe Tucker, who was pregnant at the time.
While fans will no doubt be excited, the late-great Reed may not have been all that thrilled about the re-release, especially considering he contended that the album had been re-edited without his knowledge when it was originally released in November 1970.