We are thrilled to be offering an amazing collection of posters in our current CGC Sale featuring the legendary Velvet Underground! These posters came to us from a longtime collector of the band’s vintage material who has decided to part with his collection. Posters listing The Velvet Underground are among some of the most sought-after and collectible posters on the market, which is no surprise given the band’s significance in the history of rock music. The posters from this collection provide incredible insight into this rich history. Here we are able to trace the band’s early years through the time they spent being managed by Andy Warhol, their early appearances on the west coast, and their rise in popularity and success.
In 1965, the iconic pop artist Andy Warhol became The Velvet Underground’s manager. He suggested that the band feature singer Nico on some of their songs. The following year, Warhol had the band and Nico become a part of his Exploding Plastic Inevitable, a multimedia roadshow that combined some of Warhol’s films with the band’s music infused with other elements of performance art. After several months of the event showing in New York, Warhol and The Velvets went on the road.
This poster advertises what went down as one of the most notorious events in the history of the L.A. rock scene. What was supposed to be a two-week run from May 3-18,1966 at The Trip on the Sunset Strip was shut down after just three days by the sheriff’s office for “disturbing the peace”. No one seemed to like Warhol’s show at all, and the band was booed and heckled. Many celebrities attended the event, including Cher, who made the comment that the music of The Velvet Underground could be a replacement for suicide. It appeared that the west coast was not ready for the avant-garde proto-punk sound that was coming out of New York. What the crowd did enjoy, however, was Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention who opened the show. Interestingly enough, Lou Reed and Frank Zappa were not each other’s hugest fans by any means. In fact, Lou once called Zappa “the single most untalented person I’ve heard in my life”. It should be noted that, at this point, The Velvet Underground had not yet released their first studio album.
This poster is extremely rare and features an amazing piece of both music and art history. Not only does it feature some of the greatest musicians of the era, but some of the greatest visual artists as well. In addition to Andy Warhol, American artist Roy Lichtenstein is represented here, as the poster’s central image is his famous April 25,1966 Newsweek Magazine cover. This is without a doubt one of the most desirable concert posters from the 1960s, and is only the third CGC graded example to ever appear in our auction! It presents a collecting opportunity that should absolutely not be overlooked.
A few weeks after the L.A. disaster, Andy Warhol’s act moved on to San Francisco where they performed at the Fillmore Auditorium. They were met with a similar response. The crowd disliked Andy and the Velvets but enjoyed The Mothers. Bill Graham later said he regretted bringing Andy Warhol’s show to The Fillmore, describing it as “sickening”. On the other hand, Lou Reed wasn’t a fan of the hippie scene in San Francisco, also describing its musicians as “untalented”.
This poster was produced for the event by the father of the 1960s psychedelic concert poster, Wes Wilson. Under a thousand copies were originally printed, making it extremely rare and desirable among collectors. In last month’s CGC sale, a 9.8 graded example of this poster sold for $28,800! Though this copy has a lower grade of 8.0, it is still in amazing shape for such a rare poster.
Jumping forward a few years, we move to a show that occurred about six months after the release of The Velvet Underground’s second album, White Light/White Heat. The group was no longer managed by Warhol at this point. After the album came out, their live performances became louder and noisier and they began experimenting with improvisation. Additionally, this was the last Velvet Underground’s album to feature John Cale.
The show that this poster advertises took place on June 15th and 16th, 1968 at the Hippodrome in San Diego, which was one of few venues like it in the area during that year. The artwork on the poster is beautiful. This is the FIRST time we have been able to offer this poster in one of our auctions, as it is quite difficult to come by.
The following month, The Velvet Underground returned to Los Angeles where they played at the Shrine Auditorium with the Butterfield Blues Band and Sly and the Family Stone. A very unique lineup, considering the vastly different musical styles the bill represents. This handbill exhibits a classic psychedelic design created by Neon Park, an artist known for designing several classic album covers. Pinnacle Productions founders Marc Chase, Sepp Donahower, and John Van Hamersveld produced some of the most powerful and electrifying concerts in the history of Rock music at the Shrine Auditorium in the late ’60s. This show was clearly no exception.
This handbill represents another first here at PAE, as we have yet to offer it in an auction! It has received a 9.0 grade from CGC, so the condition is incredible. Don’t miss out on this one!
In April of 1969, The Velvet Underground performed at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit with support from Nice and Earth Opera. The previous month, the band had released their self-titled third studio album, with Doug Yule replacing John Cale in the band’s lineup. This postcard was produced to advertise the show at the Grande by renowned poster artist Gary Grimshaw. No full-sized posters were created for the event. The card is double-sided, and also exhibits the image for Jethro Tull Grande shows that occurred only a few days prior.
Items from the Grande Ballroom series are often quite difficult to come by, especially in good condition. This postcard has received a 9.8 grade from CGC, meaning that it is in nearly unimprovable condition! This is a great opportunity to get your hands on an amazing Grande Ballroom item.
Our May CGC sale ends on Thursday, May 13th at 9:00 pm EDT!