50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time

Rolling Stone ranks the 50 best live albums ever, from Jimi Hendrix at Monterey to Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison

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The Velvet Underground, '1969: Velvet Underground Live With Lou Reed' (1974)
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38/50

38. The Velvet Underground, '1969: Velvet Underground Live With Lou Reed' (1974)

For decades, 1969: Velvet Underground Live With Lou Reed offered the only halfway decent live document of the band that launched a million other bands. Released only months after Lou Reed's 1974 hit live LP Rock N Roll Animal, and just on the cusp of punk, 1969 offered a stripped-down Reed for hungry ears in downtown New York and beyond. Performing future standards to tiny crowds in Dallas and San Francisco, 1969 features almost entirely new material for the band, songs the Velvets never properly recorded ("Over You," "Lisa Says," "Ocean"), song-drafts they'd record in different forms ("New Age," "Sweet Jane"), and at least one song that Patti Smith would — by the year after its release —be opening sets with at CBGB ("We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together"). Jesse Jarnow

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