The Velvet Underground’s Loaded will be reissued as a six-CD box set on October 30. The package, titled Loaded: Re-Loaded 45th Anniversary Edition, will include remastered stereo and mono mixes of the 1970 album, outtakes, live tracks—including a previously unreleased recording of a 1970 show—and high-definition surround-sound mixes.
Loaded was the group’s fourth and final album with Velvet Underground founder Lou Reed, who left shortly before its release to launch his solo career. It was also the last to feature founding members Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker.
The first two discs in the set will feature the stereo and mono versions of the album, outtakes, singles and B sides. The third disc will contain demos, early versions and alternate mixes, while the fourth is a remastered version of the Live at Max’s Kansas City album, a recording of the Velvet Underground’s final show with Reed.
The fifth disc presents a previously unreleased recording of a show from May 9, 1970. Titled Live at Second Fret, Philadelphia, 1970, it features 11 tracks recorded by a fan who hitchhiked to the show and taped it on a reel-to-reel deck. The sixth disc is an audio-only DVD containing high-definition mixes.
Loaded was recorded from April to August 1970. Drummer Maureen Tucker was pregnant at the time and did not play on the album. Performing in her place were bassist Doug Yule (who replaced founding bassist John Cale in 1969), recording engineer Adrian Barber, session musician Tommy Castanero and Yule’s brother Billy.
The album’s title was a reference to Atlantic Record’s request that the album be “loaded with hits.” In response, Reed attempted to make the album more of a commercial effort than previous Velvet Underground releases.
“On Loaded there was a big push to produce a hit single,” Yule said, noting that, “a lot of those songs were designed as singles and if you listen to them you can hear the derivation, like this is sort of a Phil Spector-ish kind of song, or ‘this is that type of person’ song.”
In that respect, they were successful. Loaded featured “Sweet Jane” (see video below) and “Rock & Roll,” two of the best-known Velvet Underground tracks.
Reed left the band three month’s before the album’s release and in subsequent interviews maintained that the album had been re-edited and sequenced without his permission. He was also upset that the songs were credited to the band rather than to him alone. Reed died October 27, 2013, after a battle with liver disease.
Loaded was the last album to feature any original Velvet Underground members. It was followed in February 1973 by Squeeze, the fifth and final Velvet Underground album, which was recorded almost entirely by Yule.
The video below presents an alternate version of “Sweet Jane” with an extra chorus in the outro.