The Velvet Underground are a phenomenon because they are one of the most influential bands of all time, yet their popular appeal is insignificant. Their first album, The Velvet Underground & Nico, came out in 1967-the summer of love. In terms of popular culture, this year is synonymous with the hippie movement. And the Velvet Underground were the first to prelude that the movement was doomed to fail. For every value that the hippie culture stood for, the velvets claimed an opposing value. Hippies valued free love, and the velvets sang about S&M.