Over the years the iconic yellow banana Andy Warhol had created for the Velvet Underground’s debut LP, has found its way to the sleeve of several 7″ records for other bands, like Abwärts’ Sonderzug Zur Endstation, or the split single Banana Split by Hickey and All You Can Eat.
But the beautiful Japanese re-release of the 1966 single Sunday Morning / Femme Fatale on Verve-Universal, in November 2019, was the very first time the banana officially appeared on the cover of a Velvet Underground record in the 7″ format. What took it so long, one can ask.
The picture cover comes in a transparent outer sleeve, that has the band’s name, titles, price and bar code on a sticker. When you take out the actual record cover however, the banana (not peelable) is all you see. Contrary to the cover of the 1967 album, even the famous Andy Warhol signature is missing.
The back cover is a copy of the original back of the 1967 album, with the so called ‘Torso version’ of the band photo, on which the image of actor Eric Emerson, seen hanging upside down, has not been brushed away.
By the way, that other brilliant album with a more than iconic Andy Warhol sleeve, the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers, turned 50 last week. The album was first released in the UK on April 23, 1971. Of course Sticky Fingers already got a ultra luxurious re-release treatment six years ago, so the 50th birthday was not celebrated with any new editions, as far as I know. Congratulations and Happy 50 anyway, to Sticky Fingers, to The Rolling Stones, and to cover designers Andy Warhol and Craig Braun, whose amazing and daring zipper cover was nominated for a Grammy, but very surprisingly lost to an album no-one has heard of ever since.