Maybe the most famous of all album covers. The design is from Andy Warhol, and featured in the early versions the banana as a sticker. Directions are added, urging you to peel it off and see what is underneath. Under there is the same banana, but in the colour of flesh. Since most people did that at one time or other, intact versions of the early prints are worth a fortune. A quick check revealed an intact version on a mono US pressing from 1967 for a staggering 8000 euro.
The influence of Andy on the rest is debated, but maybe that is partly because of the growing rift between Lour Reed and the famous New York artist. Most say he didn’t influence the music at all, and he knew nothing about producing music. According to Velvet Underground’s Sterling Morrison, he was useful as an ‘umbrella’ to be safe from unwanted reactions. The record covers some very explicit material, and as revolutionary as they were, they were not big enough to handle the bad publication about that themselves. Andy was useful for that: he gave them a carte-blanche.
According to English musician Brian Eno the album sold 30000 pieces in the first five years, and all of these were bought by people that later started a band. Even though the sales numbers were actually almost twice that, it is true that no record has been so influential as this one. It contributed to the genres of alternative music and punk, garage, shoegaze, goth and indie.