The Velvet Underground: very much a band’s band, and much loved by critics and influencers. Their debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico might not have shifted many units on its initial release in 1967, but as Brian Eno remarked, everyone who bought that album started a band of their own. Later, it would be seen as a classic, and the band would be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

The Velvet Underground are a band that should have a place in every serious rock fan’s collection and heart. And yet when I discovered recently that Ambulance Ltd’s track Ocean - which appears on their one and only album LP - was a cover of a Velvet Underground track, the first time I listened to the original was also the first time I had listened to any Velvet Underground track since registering with nearly ten years ago. During that time it seems my only contact with The Velvet Underground has been through covers: Ocean I’ve already mentioned, but also Femme Fatale, covered by R.E.M. and Big Star, and Pale Blue Eyes and There She Goes Again - two more R.E.M. covers, both of which appear on their b-sides and bits and bobs compilation Dead Letter Office.

I know there was a time when I was partial to a bit of Velvet Underground / Lou Reed. Like Sonic Youth, The Velvet Underground appeared on a RCD Magazine cover CD that I used to listen to a bit. and I had a copy of Transformer at one stage. I don’t know exactly what it was that turned me off (perhaps the dreadful versions of Perfect Day with the likes of Heather Small yelling at me about reaping what I sow had something to do with it), but I do remember really hating Venus in Furs for a while, during my hyper-opinionated period. I mean really hating. Forgive me - I was young and headstrong, and ill-advised: clearly it’s not one of the most hideous dirges ever committed to vinyl; no more than slightly grating, perhaps.