Bananas back in ’67


There was one in the Youngbloods of course (first album 1967) and perhaps more famously one on the front cover of the first Velvet Underground album with Nico. It had Andy Warhol’s name on the front, but what he had to do with it I’m  not sure. It was released around this week, fifty years ago.

The popular mythology (Brian Eno etc) is that almost no one bought it and anyone that did formed a punk band. Like much rock mythology it’s bollocks. Plenty of people heard it back then, not least via John Peel on Radio London and people around Pompey started buying it – I believe Graham L has a tale of Jacko purchasing a copy (and ‘Burt’ I guess)

Many, many years later I went to a spoken word event at the Wedgewood Rooms with John Cale, and Jacko was there with some pals, but they got upset when they realised there wouldn’t be any music, and departed.

Back then (or maybe ’68) I bought that album, somehow without the banana peel, so it was always just the pink inside, staring up at me. Neat image on the back cover.

Speaking of John Peel, it was around this week in 1967 that he began regular broadcasts on Big L and we could hear the latest stuff from the USA and UK – often a real revelation. Meanwhile, in London, Pink Floyd released the single “Arnold Layne”/”Candy & a Currant Bun” and the offices of International Times were raided, looking for obscene material.

PS: I have received the first proofs of the new book which look fine, so it’s on its way: Autumn of Love: How the Swinging Sixties and the Counterculture came to Portsmouth.

More Bananas from Phil (cheers)

pajamaspurple bananas


Author: pompeypop

University lecturer, longtime local musician and recently historian of popular music - especially in and around Portsmouth. My blog is entirely about that topic

2 thoughts on “Bananas back in ’67

  1. Thanks for the mention Dave. Thought I might send you a pic of the Drum head for the band but…Is it just me or have we gone bananas in this digital camera age? My computer hard drive contains 14,357 pictures. (All backed up to a removable drive as well). I have 5 638 pictures on my phone (which are also on the Hard drive and backed up etc). Then there is another out board hard drive with Pics from an earlier PC. Makes searching for a specific pic harder than sorting through the box of loose photographs the we and our parents always had. Not to mention the photo albums…Maybe I will get organized when and if I ever retire.

  2. Didn’t the Pretty Things call themselves Electric Banana as a psydonym?

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