Velvet Underground Collectibles from the Sterling Morrison Archive

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Recently we’ve had the good fortune to acquire some truly amazing Velvet Underground artifacts from the collection of the late, great Velvets guitarist, Sterling Morrison.

Sterling actively collected memorabilia from throughout his band’s career, and we feel fortunate to have obtained many one-of-a-kind items from his widow, Martha Morrison.  We’ve created a new Velvet Underground Memorabilia Blog to showcase some of these extraordinary items that we have for sale.

Here we are showcasing some great period Velvets ads from Sterling’s archive, and a few previously unknown and undocumented Velvet Underground posters and handbills from Sterling’s collection (available for purchase via the Velvets Blog and Recordmecca.)  So without further ado, the stuff !

Here’s a great and very unusual ad promoting Nico “singing to the sounds of The Velvet Underground” at the New Mod-Dom.  The Velvets and Andy Warhol’s multi-media spectacle, the Exploding Plastic Inevitable first played the Dom, a Polish hall in New York during April of 1966.   The EPI included the Velvets, Warhol films, a light show, dancers (including Gerard Malanga with his “whip-dance”) and more.  While it’s been disputed that the hall the Velvets played in was called “The Dom,” this ad from a February, 1967 issue of the Village Voice, makes it clear that was the case.  We’ve never seen anything before that highlighted Nico in this way.

The Velvets and Warhol’s multi media spectacle the Exploding Plastic Inevitable returned to the Dom, now renamed The Balloon Farm, in September and October 1966.

During March and April, 1967 the Velvets played New York’s “new happening discotheque” The Gymnasium.  Some of these shows were billed as “Andy Warhol presents The Complete Spectrum of Sounds with the Velvet Underground, the Dick Hyman Trio & Tony Scott, “one of the world’s greatest Clarinetists.’”  !!!

An ad for a series of shows at Hollywood’s Whiskey A-Go-Go where the Velvets shared the bill with Chicago Transit Authority, aka Chicago.  A very strange double bill, indeed.

This is a previously unknown and undocumented 1969 poster for a series of shows by the Velvets at the Unicorn, in Boston.  Few Velvets posters featured their photograph, and this one is a beauty. We were thrilled to find this in the Morrison attic.

This is a previously unknown and undocumented handbill for the Velvets shows at The A-Go-Go in West Yarmouth, Mass (on Cape Cod.)  This one is particularly interesting as the artwork is a direct rip-off of Wes Wilson’s famous 1966 poster for the Velvets and the Mothers of Invention at the Fillmore in San Francisco. 

Yes, yet another unknown handbill–this one from the Whiskey-A-Go-Go in Hollywood, California.  This lists shows in November/December 1968, including The Velvets with Bay Area band Cold Blood.  Of note, soon after the Velvets shows were shows by the great Moby Grape.  And as the copy notes, “playing with Moby Grape for the first time anywhere will be the Flying Burrito Brothers–a new band formerd by two former Byrds, Chris Hillman and Graham (actually Gram) Parsons.  Truly historic.

And last but certainly not least, here is an extremely rare Velvet Underground set-list, handwritten by Sterling Morrison.  This was likely for a Chicago show, as it’s written on the back of a form from a long defunct Chicago accounting firm.  Only a handful of Velvets setlists survive, all from Morrison’s collection. 

If you’d like to see more of this kind of thing, or are interested in purchasing items from Sterling Morrison’s archive, visit our Velvet Underground memorabilia blog.  Thanks for looking.

Comments

Chicago Transit Authority and Velvets not such a strange double bill. If you listen to the CTA album, it was very heavy and progressive for its time, not the ballad type stuff you are probably associating with Chicago. Give it a listen sometime!

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