Banana still fresh after 50 years

Pop & Rock, Sixties

This week – and according to some sources even today, March 12 – the legendary rock album The Velvet Underground & Nico turns fifty. Happy birthday Lou, John, Moe, Sterling, Nico and Andy. An album that is mythical for both its music and Andy Warhol’s peelable banana on the cover. Of course there was a lot to read about the album these days, for instance an interview with VU founding member John Cale in Rolling Stone, and a great story about a fan who has no less than 800 different copies of the album in his collection.

I have about five or six of the original albums: with unpeeled, half peeled and totally peeled bananas, and different back covers: the original cover with the so called Emerson torso-picture, the version with a lawsuit sticker covering the Emerson picture, and the third version with the Emerson picture airbrushed out. I won’t go deeper in this now, all different versions are meticulously listed on the great Velvet Underground website by Olivier Landemaine.

s-l1600 (1)

The Velvet Underground & Nico, peeled version.

In this post I would like to focus on homages, spoofs and rip-offs or whatever you want to call them. In the last two or three decades a lot of artists have paid homage to Warhol’s banana cover. By copying the exact banana, or by re-using the peel idea with other fruits or objects. And some are really, really good. Scroll slowly, and see!

Abwärts ‎– Sonderzug Zur Endstation

Abwärts – Sonderzug zur Endstation: 12″ and 7″ single by German post-punk band (1990). Warhol banana, with a little blue sticker with the band’s logo pasted on.

all you can eat hickey

USA 1995, split 7″ by the bands All You Can Eat and Hickey (2 tracks each)

Band zoner Banaan

Dutch cd single, name of band and title translated: Band without a banana, Can’t complain, 1999

Black Banana

Black banana pasted on a black cover. A Velvet Underground bootleg (1986) with 2 pieces of the legendary 1966 concert in the Valleydale Ballroom, Columbus Ohio. Very very Warhol, this cover.

Ceci n'est pas une banane

Andy Warhol, meet René Magritte! 12″ by Westside Chemical, US, 2000

Crue L Grand Orcehstra

Japanese 12″ titled Family by Crue-l Grand Orchestra (1999). Supposedly peelable, but so fragile I did not dare to do it.

Dandy Warhols 1

The LP Welcome to The Monkey House by The Dandy Warhols (2003). Brilliant cover art painting by Ron English, that combines VU’s banana with Sticky Fingers’ zipper. Double Warhol. My favourite.

Dandy Warhols promo cd

Promo cd of album above in cardboard cover.

Dead Milkmen 1

The Dead Milkman, Smokin’ Banana Peels. US 12″, 1989. Also the back side mimics the VU album (see below)

Dead Milkmen 2

Faure Quartett 1

Fauré Quartett on Deutsche Grammophon! The famous classical ensemble plays their interprations of pop and rock tunes (Germany, 2009). On the cover another interpretation: peelable apple turns out to be a raspberry in disguise.

Faure Quartett 2Faure Quartett 3

Full of Fancy - Acid Creeps 1

Split single 7″ by bands Full of Fancy and The Acid Creeps (US, 2007)

Full of Fancy - Acid Creeps 2


Hickoids – The Hairy Chafin’ EP – promo cd only. Cow-punk from Austin, Texas. Peelable banana, shows a corncob underneath.

La Cooperative de Mai

La Coopérative de Mai, live compilation album, France 2007

Paths of Pain 1

Paths of Pain 2

Compilation album of the Australian Phantom label (1983). Peeled sock shows foot of one of the label’s owners. The back side and inner cover render homage to all 3 other VU studio albums: White Light / White Heat, VU 3rd album and Loaded.

Pooch 1

Happiness is a 9’6″.Surfrock 7″ by Pooch (US 1988). Banana replaced by McCoy surfboard.

VU & NIco Pink banana 2

VU & NIco pink banana

Official German release of The Velvet Underground & Nico on cd, in a limited and numbered cardboard slipbox with a peelable banana. But very curiously, when the banana is peeled it shows another UNpeeled banana in pink. Great item!

4 thoughts on “Banana still fresh after 50 years”

  1. Yeah! Congrats to the Velvets for producing an album that is more popular today, 50 years after its release, that it was at first. And with a cover that has spawned almost as many pastiches as the cover of Sgt Pepper’ Lonely Hearts Club Band!
    And congrats to you, too! This post is brilliant (again!) and, though I had decided NOT to collect pastiches, I feel seriously tempted after seeing the ones you picture!

    Liked by 2 people

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