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Velvet Underground Loses Fight Over Warhol's Banana

Velvet Underground Loses Fight Over Warhol's Banana

We're talking about the artistic depiction of the banana

In more Warhol/food/art news, the New York Post reports that the Velvet Underground has lost a fight over Andy Warhol's iconic banana illustration, which adorned the band's album, "The Velvet Underground and Nico."

Manahattan federal judge Alison Nathan tossed the Velvet Underground's suit out, claiming that Warhol's foundation's promise not to sue the Velvets for using the image "eliminated any live controversy." The band had requested a court order declaring that Andy Warhol's foundation doesn't hold a copyright on the banana image.

Luckily for the Velvet Underground (and their supporters), the band still has three other claims against Warhol's foundation, including alleged trademark infringement and a request to ban the foundation from licensing the image.

In the meantime, who here has gotten their hands on those fancy Campbell soup cans?

Fruity beauty: this banana fight is unworthy of Warhol and the Velvet Underground

It's sad to see one of the great creative partnerships of the 20th century being picked apart in the courts. This week, a judge dismissed a copyright claim by members of the Velvet Underground against the Andy Warhol Foundation over the use of the famous yellow and black banana logo that Warhol designed for their first album, released in 1967.

In January, the band members filed a suit arguing that the banana has become "a symbol" of the defunct band. They demanded the Warhol Foundation stop licensing the image for use on such goods as iPod covers, and pay them for past licensing. Although they lost, they can still pursue a claim over trademark infringement.

It's a shame because Warhol's recognition of the Velvets' talent was one of his finest moments and resulted in a masterpiece. How much did Lou Reed and John Cale, the group's creative leaders, owe to Warhol? Enough for them to have once dedicated an album, Songs for Drella, to his memory – Drella being his nickname, a contraction of Dracula and Cinderella. How much did Warhol owe them? Well, they saw the best of him and preserved it: their love song I'll Be Your Mirror is in some sense a portrait of Warhol, the artist who reflected the world like a mirror. That may sound like a passive, cold way to make art but, as the song recognised, to be a mirror is a way of loving a person or the world.

Their pre-banana recordings, with acoustic instruments, are lugubrious emulations of Bob Dylan, drug-slowed folk rock. By the time the band went into the studio to record their debut album, however, they had developed a ruthless steely beauty that had never been heard before. Their clipped guitar lashes, whipcrack viola, industrial drums and Reed's harsh urban poetry held up a mirror to Warhol's world. Reed was like a reporter or novelist at the Factory, giving voices to its lost souls.

It's impossible to separate that great album with its banana cover from the atmosphere of the Factory and Warhol's nocturnal Exploding Plastic Inevitable events. Yet the affinity between the Velvets and Warhol goes much deeper than atmosphere. Warhol's best art of the 1960s, his Death and Disaster paintings, portray moments of finality and catastrophe. That same deathly shock threads like black and silver through the banana album, as much in Cale's avant-garde chair-draggings and devilish strings as in Reed's laconic descriptions of lives lived on the edge.

Warhol's banana – sexual yet starting to rot – captures this album's decadent beauty perfectly. Under his watchful eye, between the folds of his masterful cover, the Velvet Underground created a 20th-century classic.

Velvet Underground Andy Warhol dispute settled

The band sued the foundation last year after it licensed the famous banana logo from their 1967 debut for use on other products.

The legal claim argued the design had become a symbol of the band and the foundation had no right to use it.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

The agreement averts a trial that was set to begin on 29 July.

Warhol served as manager and producer of the band, formed by Lou Reed and John Cale in the mid-1960s.

He designed the cover for The Velvet Underground & Nico, which incorporated the banana symbol and the phrase "peel slowly and see".

Legal papers filed in a New York court showed the band claimed exclusive use of the banana design for licensed merchandising and sought damages and an injunction to prevent the foundation from licensing the image.

The foundation - which was set up under Warhol's will to advance the visual arts - took ownership of his copyrights in 1987 and argued The Velvet Underground had no enforceable trademark rights to the image.

In its original claim, the band had asked the court to rule the foundation had no copyright to the banana image.

In September, however, a federal judge rejected the claim for copyright infringement.

Warhol Collaboration

The band, which formed in 1965 and remained active until about 1972, forged an artistic collaboration with Warhol. He designed the cover of the 1967 album “The Velvet Underground and Nico” using an illustration of a banana taken from an advertisement, according to court papers. Warhol died in 1987.

A copyright for the banana design was also at issue in the suit. The Warhol Foundation said it had agreed under a covenant with the band to not file any legal action against it over the copyright for the design.

The band nevertheless asked the court for a declaratory judgment that the foundation had no copyright interest in the design. The band said no copyright filing was made for the design and the ad from which it derived was in the public domain and ineligible for copyright protection.

Nathan denied the motion for the declaratory judgment in September, saying that the covenant between the band and the foundation eliminated any controversy over the copyright.

Warhol’s copyrighted works have a market value estimated at more than $120 million and the foundation has earned more than $2.5 million a year from licensing the designs, according to court papers.

Velvet Underground, Andy Warhol group settle suit over banana image

Velvet Underground settled a lawsuit with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts over the use of a banana design that appeared on the band’s album cover, Bloomberg News reports.

Velvet Underground sued the foundation last year when reports surfaced that the foundation planned to license the image to Apple for use on iPhone and iPad accessories.

The terms of the settlement, which came Wednesday in a New York federal court, were not disclosed.

In the lawsuit, the Velvet Underground claimed it held the trademark to the image and sought damages and an injunction to prevent the foundation from licensing the artwork, according to Reuters.

The foundation, which for decades has licensed the late artist’s work, claimed it held the copyright to the design Warhol created for the band’s album cover.

Founded by John Cale and Lou Reed, the avante-garde group started collaborating with Warhol in the 1960s. The banana image appeared on the Velvet Underground’s best-known album, 1967’s “The Velvet Underground & Nico.”

NY judge nixes rock group's Warhol copyright claim

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York judge has dropped a copyright claim by the legendary rock band The Velvet Underground from a lawsuit it brought against the Andy Warhol Foundation over a banana image Warhol created.

Federal Judge Alison Nathan eliminated the copyright claim Friday, though she left in place trademark claims. The banana image was used by the group on its first album cover in 1967.

The judge notes the Warhol Foundation has promised not to accuse The Velvet Underground of copyright infringement. The lawsuit claims the foundation slipped up when it licensed the design for use on iPhone and iPad products.

Attorney Clifford James says The Velvet Underground disagrees with the ruling and believes it will win its trademark claims. A Warhol Foundation lawyer declined to comment on Monday.

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Velvet Underground & Nico – 1967 stereo LP with Warhol cover

Offered for sale is an early stereo pressing of the 1967 self-titled debut LP by the Velvet Underground & Nico, featuring the cover that originally included the peelable banana sticker.

The banana sticker on this copy is a reproduction.

About this copy: This copy is an early stereo second issue of the 1967 LP the torso of actor Eric Emerson has been airbrushed out of the back cover photo.

The cover is VG, with light wear, mostly at the corners and edges. There is a 2″ split at the bottom seam that has been repaired. There is some cracking on the right hand edge of the gatefold cover.

The banana sticker is a reproduction. The original banana sticker had been completely removed from this copy (see photo to see what it looks like without the sticker.) We’ve replaced the original sticker with a high-quality reproduction that is virtually indistinguishable from the original. (The sticker is repositionable, so you may remove it if you like, though we’re not sure why you’d want to.)

The original Verve inner sleeve is included. It’s VG with splits on two sides and some yellowing from age.

The record is VG++. It’s a very clean disc that appears to have had very little play. It does have a couple of faint scuff marks on it from the paper sleeve. It’s close to M-, but not quite there.

This is an East Coast pressing, with sides designated as “Side 1” and “Side 2,” rather than “Side A” and “Side B.”

Matrix numbers in the dead wax are:

v6-5008 SIDE 1 M&S558-REV.
v6� SIDE 2 MGS-559-RE1

This is not the ultra-rare pressing that is missing the song, “Sunday Morning.”

While not mint, it’s an nice example of a record that should be in everyone’s collection. Most copies have badly damaged covers and discs that are nearly unplayable and mint copies usually sell for more than $1000.

Background: The 1967 debut by the Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground & Nico, sold poorly in its initial release, and given that the record company had to make multiple changes to the already-expensive, Andy Warhol-designed cover, the album almost certainly lost money for the record company. Despite that, people, especially other musicians, managed to hear it, and today, the album is rightly regarded as one of the most influential albums in rock history.

One would be hard-pressed to name a rock album whose influence has been as broad and pervasive as The Velvet Underground & Nico. While it reportedly took over a decade for the album’s sales to crack six figures, glam, punk, new wave, goth, noise, and nearly every other left-of-center rock movement owes an audible debt to this set. While The Velvet Underground had as distinctive a sound as any band, what’s most surprising about this album is its diversity….

While the significance of Nico’s contributions have been debated over the years, she meshes with the band’s outlook in that she hardly sounds like a typical rock vocalist, and if Andy Warhol’s presence as producer was primarily a matter of signing the checks, his notoriety allowed The Velvet Underground to record their material without compromise, which would have been impossible under most other circumstances. Few rock albums are as important as The Velvet Underground & Nico, and fewer still have lost so little of their power to surprise and intrigue more than 40 years after first hitting the racks.

The album drew attention for a number of reasons, including the cover art, which depicted a banana with the curious caption, “Peel slowly and see.” Most buyers peeled the sticker back to see what was underneath, and were probably disappointed to realize that what was underneath was essentially an image of a peeled banana, albeit a pink one. Finding original pressings today with the banana intact can be a chore, especially if you’re looking for a copy that isn’t a cutout.

A Cup of Jo

Hello all you crazy bloggers. What's going on? Thursday was my first day of eating food and it was a wild one!! haha I started my day off with apple juice and then had 6 ounces of soaked prunes. Now, when you think of 6 ounces, it doesn't seem like a lot, but it's an entire bag of prunes that you buy at the grocery store. I was really excited to eat them though- I mean, it was real, living food- that's ALL that mattered haha My sister had a disgusted look on her face as I ate them in the living room. Halfway through eating them, I felt my stomach gurgling, but I finished them off anyways. What a bad idea.

A few hours went by, I went to the gym, came home, and read a little bit of Cosmo magazine. I also weighed myself and surprisingly, I lost 4 pounds. I was shocked and kind of mad because I really didn't need to lose weight. That wasn't the purpose of my juice fast. I'm assuming that it was toxic waste so I guess it's not a bad thing to lose, but oh well. Later, I had to go to work, of course, and this was just a nightmare. I got to work at 6 and was scheduled in the women's department which is very far away from the bathroom. I pleaded with the cashier in the kid's department to switch with me and by the grace of God, she did. And thank God she did. I went to the bathroom 8 times in 3 1/2 hours. The prunes went right through me and it felt so good. The people in the bathroom stalls around me probably wanted to faint from the smell. I used to never go poop in the bathroom because I didn't want people to hear, but over the past few years, I could give a CRAP about what anyone thinks.

Hopefully, Friday night won't be as bad as Thursday. I have a feeling that it will be though haha But nobody will work for me. Sears employees aren't THAT nice. I want to go bowling for some reason so that's where I'll be if I'm not at Sears.

I also wanted to show you guys this AMAZING banana shirt that my mom bought me. In case you didn't know this, I usually eat 3 bananas every day. I am obsessed with them, so this shirt is now one of my favorite shirts!! Isn't it sassy?? I wore it to the gym and got a few stares, but I don't care. it's HOT.


Oh, man, public washrooms are the worst. But like you, I gave up caring when I worked in retail and didn't have a choice!

Hilarious post! I'm glad you're taking your tummy issues in stride!

What? Why are you eating soaked prunes? :)

babe tell me that's an andy warhol tee. cause it really does look like his work. it's featured here. monumental album in the music world and my world.

anyway abt the bathroom . hats off to you..don't think i have the courage to do that.
you're just special aren't you? *squuuuueeeze

the weight loss is prob the toxins n waste like u said. should be back to normal pretty soon:)

I used to have the biggest public restroom phobia, but working on the road has been extreme exposure therapy!!

Love the banana shirt and you have me freaking out here with all your public toilet stories :P I'm such a public toilet-a-phobe! (heck, I'm a toilet-a-phobe full stop!)

I'd have to agree with the others, that I would not have the toilet courage you do! You're hilarious.

that's a lot of poo, Joanna! eek! your banana shirt = the coolest! i may have to get one for myself! i love it the most!

You share the nicest details o feel the same, but if youve got to go youve got to go.
Love the tshirt tho

you ate a BOX of prunes AFTER a cleansing juice fast? what are you, crazy. i mean, i love prunes too but not after a cleansing fast. there probably wasn't anything left in your adorable little body to cleanse! that banana tshirt is an andy warhol design that donned the cover of a velvet underground album. nice taste, hon.

I love how honest you are! Especially when you said it felt so good to poo. because it does! I love to poop. I think that is one of the best things about my vegan diet. and of course kindness to all living creatures, but you know what I mean.

You absolutely crack me up, as always. :-)

Oh man, go easy on those prunes. You've given me my laugh of the day though. Thanks!

The weight will probably come back on as you add more food. If not, then it was weight you didn't need, right? I know how you feel, I usually want to keep all the weight I have. It wasn't always that way though, so its a good feeling. Don't know if that makes sense. not that is important if it does, hehe.

I love your banana shirt!! I am a big banana fan also, although I only have one a day, usually.

i love nanners too! and your shirt is from an amazing album by the velvet underground. a la andy warhol. if you haven't heard the album, you should give it a shot!

lol, sorry about the bathroom problems but at least you are dealing with everything okay haha.
Nice, Glad you got a naner tshirt!

I eat a nana every morning, I love them and I love your shirt! You are so brave! I love it! Do you know there is a blog called We all go poopie?

CUTEST SHIRT EVER. I love Andy Warhol.

hey you. hehehe like u said. we ought to travel the world together.

and eat at great veg restaurants.

That would just be muy awesome.

will be doing a post on travel destination, sometime in the new future)

have a great weekend hun. xoxoxoxo

The banana t-shirt is great! I wished I had your courage in public restrooms! Hahaha! Must be quite cool too!

You never cease to crack me up. I can't believe you did a juice fast, then ate a pile of prunes. Glad you were stationed near the bathrooms, indeed!
LOL on the banana shirt. You youngins need to brush up on your punk and get some Velvet Underground stat. There she goes again.

im so glad the juice cleanse helped get out all that toxic nastiness! i think i am going to do one when i go home for spring break, i hear its sooo challenging but feels so amazing afterward.

& i LOVE how honest you are about the pooing situation!! i barely PEE in public because i feel like people are listening lol. loves youuu!

All that weight you lost came my way. :( Well, I guess I could make these prunes and I'd lose that weight real quick. Lol! :) I do love bananas and prunes though!

You're so silly! Oddly enough you're making me want to try a juice fast. I just don't know if I'd do the prune thing afterward. :P LOVE your banana shirt! That's the Velvet Underground (Andy Warhol) banana, right?

your mom buys you the coolest stuff.

those prunes do look nasty. but I like them.

I'm sure that woman in the kid's dept was delighted to hear about your bathroom needs :)


Yes! We Have No Bananas: Velvet Underground Sues Warhol Group

The Velvet Underground sued a foundation that manages artist Andy Warhol's legacy on Wednesday in a trademark dispute over the influential New York-based rock band's iconic cover for its 1967 album "The Velvet Underground & Nico."

The cover (pictured) features a banana on a white background with Warhol's signature. The artist selected the banana design from an element of advertisement in the public domain, according to the lawsuit. The band essentially served as the house band for Warhol's studio, The Factory, and contributed soundtracks to several of his film projects.

A partnership, which manages the band's catalogue and includes band members Lou Reed and John Cale as partners, claims that The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc. has infringed the band's trademark by licensing the banana image to third parties, including purportedly cases for iPhones and iPads.

The partnership, which filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday, is seeking a declaration that the Warhol Foundation has no copyright interest in the design.

The Warhol Foundation didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Art is Life

Well, it’s the Andy Warhol Foundation’s Banana, now, and they’re going to resell it to the highest bidder if they want to. The Velvet Underground, lost the battle to protect the work – which Andy designed for the band’s debut album, when he managed them in 1966. “The Velvet Underground and Nico” – the album, known by some as “the banana album,” was a commercial failure when it was released – it went on to become a seminally influential album in Rock it features “I’m Waiting For The Man” and “Venus In Furs” and “All Tomorrow’s Parties.” The band claimed – with some degree of accuracy, if you ask us – that the work has become inseparable from their record and that it might look like the band were giving some form of sponsorship or approval to other products… say like iPads... we have to post a picture (which we found here) of the reverse brandalism, because the disconnect is jarring… and boring at the same time:

In the court ruling, the band were told that they do not hold a valid claim to the copyright of the work, but it appears they might continue going after the Foundation for trademark infringement. The Foundation meanwhile signed a binding legal “covenant” promising never to sue the Velvet Underground, “or related parties” for copyright infringement.

And speaking of craven. .. er, marketing: the band is planning to reissue the 1967 album – in six cds, with alternate takes, mixes, live recordings, practice sessions and “more,” to celebrate the record’s 45th Anniversary. It’s out on Universal on October 1st, 2012.

And to remind us – 45 years on – of the energy of the band – and the seemingly impossibly vibrant days of New York in 1966, we post Andy Warhol’s film “The Velvet Underground and Nico: A Symphony of Sound (1966)” it’s 67 minutes long, it was filmed in 16mm in black and white at the Factory.

Andy Warhol was an Enterprise, and not allergic to cashmoney… but we find this something that maybe even he might not have suffered the poor Banana. We post this sad “Requiem for a Banana,” because we’re feeling that it’s an all too pitiful illustration that pop (art) will, ultimately eat itself, and all that will be left will be a banana peel, on some sidewalk, or in some museum, or art gallery floor.

Watch the video: Warhol Banana - The Velvet Underground (January 2022).