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The Velvet Underground in the Psychedelic 60s

Posted on October 03 2016

When we think of The Velvet Underground, we think of New York City, Andy Warhol, The Factory, the in-crowd, and the avant-garde. One thing we never think of is the psychedelic 60's, but their debut came out in 1967. 

Think about the 60's for a second, right now. San Francisco is groovy; The Grateful Dead are touring; and "Incense and Peppermints" is playing on the radio. 

Now think about The Velvet Underground. Intense New York City freaks dressed in all black, wearing their sunglasses indoors, and playing too-fast, too-loud, and singing about junkies, prostitutes, and sadomasochism. 

To help place The Velvet Underground among the psychedelic 60's in all our minds, we've pulled together a few tour posters that really make clear just how groovy the world was when the Velvets were trying to market "Heroin."

Let's go! 

This first poster was designed by the artist, Neon Park, for a July 12 & 13 show in 1968. The Grateful Dead played the night before the Velvets. Weird, right? Weirder still is that this bill included Sly and The Family Stone, and the Butterfield Blues Band. There really weren't many, if any, bands that would have paired well with the Velvet back then. 

1968_june_Neon_Park_Sly_the_Family_Stone_the_Butterfield_Blues_Band_and_The_Rockets_pre-Crazy_Horse_at_the_Shrine_Exposition_Hall_in_Los_Angeles.jpg

Here's a billing we didn't expect to find: The Velvet Underground and Iron Butterfly?! This poster is for a Family Dog show at The Avalon Ballroom, June 7-9 1968. The Family Dog was a San Francisco based commune/promotions company that really led the scene and defined the hippy aesthetic on display here. The artist is Bob Schnepf. The Grateful Dead played The Avalon Ballroom on June 10, 1968 -- the night after the Velvets engagement ended.

Here's a billing we didn't expect to find: The Velvet Underground and Iron Butterfly?! This poster is for a Family Dog show at The Avalon Ballroom, June 7-9 1968. The Family Dog was a San Francisco based commune/promotions company that really led the scene and defined the hippy aesthetic on display here. The artist is Bob Schnepf. The Grateful Dead played The Avalon Ballroom on June 10, 1968 -- the night after the Velvets engagement ended.

The_Hippodrome_June_15_1968.jpg

Here's a billing we didn't expect to find: The Velvet Underground and Iron Butterfly?! This poster is for a Family Dog show at The Avalon Ballroom, June 7-9 1968. The Family Dog was a San Francisco based commune/promotions company that really led the scene and defined the hippy aesthetic on display here. The artist is Bob Schnepf. The Grateful Dead played The Avalon Ballroom on June 10, 1968 -- the night after the Velvets engagement ended.

Christina Bottego