Nico, aka Christa Päffgen
It doesn't appear there's been a proper thread for her on DL—she was a model-turned-singer for The Velvet Underground, one of Andy Warhol's one-time "Factory" stars; later became a serious heroin addict and recorded several very dark, sometimes gothic experimental albums. I find her music fascinating, though some of it is funereal and hard to listen to at times. "The Marble Index" is a great album, but a rough listen. "Desertshore" is a bit more accessible, and probably my favorite record by her.
She was partly deaf, hence her sometimes off-key singing, and she famously played the harmonium. She had a son with Alain Delon. She was a German Aryan and I've read in recent years that she was allegedly very racist, though I don't know if this is actually true. She died in 1988 while vacationing in Spain with her son—shockingly, not of a heroin overdose, but rather a heart attack. Any fans? Was she actually a Nazi cunt? Or just a sad junkie, traumatized from a childhood in WWII Germany?
|by Anonymous||reply 52||Last Thursday at 5:28 AM|
Goddess. Musical Genius. And let's face it, all 4 of those records of hers were collaborations with John Cale (VU), who deserves equal (more than equal) credit for them. These queens on DL, who think S. Sondheim is some kind of "genius" will have none of this, of course. They're ignoramuses.
|by Anonymous||reply 1||06/05/2021|
Her line reading and intonation on All Tomorrow’s Parties is haunting and iconic, few songs can make me respond so viscerally.
|by Anonymous||reply 3||06/05/2021|
For those who don’t know it.
|by Anonymous||reply 4||06/05/2021|
The End. Nico, Cale, and Eno. Mindfuckery. Masterpiece:
|by Anonymous||reply 5||06/05/2021|
Like fruit rotting... or so I’ve heard.
|by Anonymous||reply 6||06/05/2021|
^People said EXACTLY the same stupid shit about Richard Wagner...
|by Anonymous||reply 7||06/05/2021|
R5 "The End..." is great, too. This is probably my favorite track on that album. Utterly haunting.
|by Anonymous||reply 8||06/05/2021|
^The whole LP is one thing, made as a single collection of songs. It all goes together. All those strings: John Cale. The arrangements, ditto.
|by Anonymous||reply 9||06/05/2021|
I love John Cale's version of 'Frozen Warnings,' it plays at the end of the documentary Nico/Icon.
|by Anonymous||reply 10||06/05/2021|
OP here again—has anyone read "Nico: The End" by James Young? It was a biography of her written in the '90s. Young was a musician who actually knew her well and worked with her. I read it years and years ago, and from what I can recall, it painted a pretty dark picture of the last few years of her life.
|by Anonymous||reply 11||06/05/2021|
^ (These Nico Elektra/Island records are ACTUALLY John Cale albums, plain and simple.) Each is a masterpiece.
|by Anonymous||reply 12||06/05/2021|
I'm a huge fan of Nico. Jackson Browne was madly in love with Nico. He wrote "These Days" was written for and was about Nico. IIRC, Jackson was 16 or 17 at the time. Nico's version is on her 'Chelsea Girl' LP.
Nico fucked some attractive, hot, amazing and talented men, besides having a son with actor Alain Delon, she 'dated' Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Tim Buckley, Brian Jones, Iggy Pop, Kevin Ayers, French director Philippe Garrel and Leonard Cohen.
Nico also fucked most of the men in The Velvets, Sterling Morrison, John Cale and Lou Reed. The thread throughout most of her relationships, she was incapable of loving anyone.
The Nico Icon film is up at YouTube.
|by Anonymous||reply 13||06/05/2021|
I was in Ibiza those weeks and I remember that Sunday. We were at Ku for a bit (I never liked KU) and then Amnesia (which was dinky then, but good music) til dawn and a "straight" friend had picked up a tranny and brought her home to our house. When I woke up it was super hot. I accidentally ate a cube of very strong hash and was tripping all day. I got scared of my lover and felt he was a mantid who would eat me. I went into the scrubby hills thinking I could escape the heat and my murderous lover but got covered by ants. I went back to the villa and everyone was gone so I covered myself with a wet sheet and lay down naked on the terrazzo floor and went to sleep for hours. Half my friends were on smack but not me. I was the square who ran with a fast crowd. I didn't go out with them for a couple evening after that because the Island started to give me bad vibes. All the couples in my crowd split up during or right after that visit.
|by Anonymous||reply 14||06/05/2021|
Not much traction in this thread.
The old queens don't care about Nico ("can you dance to her music?") and the young queens have no clue who the hell she is. They are too busy listening to current bands who rip off music from the past, such as The Velvets and Nico, looool
|by Anonymous||reply 15||Last Wednesday at 1:43 PM|
I read somewhere that Fellini wanted to put her in another film but she refused because she didn't want to get up that early. My kind of gal.
|by Anonymous||reply 16||Last Wednesday at 2:01 PM|
Hard to believe that this was recorded in 1968.
|by Anonymous||reply 17||Last Wednesday at 2:13 PM|
“The Marble Index” is more contemporary classical than Rock.
|by Anonymous||reply 18||Last Wednesday at 2:16 PM|
^Cale had worked with LaMonte Young extensively, and so was familiar with the use of "drone" early on. This is, basically, a John Cale album, with Nico providing the lyrics and the melodic line. Like all 4 of the LPs they made.
|by Anonymous||reply 19||Last Wednesday at 2:18 PM|
THE MARBLE INDEX and THE END don't sound dated at all. THE END is just as ominous and overbearing, from start to finish, as it was when it first came out. They are both among the best pop records made since the 1960s.
|by Anonymous||reply 20||Last Wednesday at 2:21 PM|
I really recommend James Young’s memoir of Nico (he toured with her in her final years.) It also contains a hilarious gay subplot.
|by Anonymous||reply 21||Last Wednesday at 2:22 PM|
She lived above us in Edinburgh in the early 80s. Heroin and lost beauty but surprisingly pleasant, pretty down to earth and never pulled any kind of star trip, which she could have done easily given the mystique that still surrounded her.
|by Anonymous||reply 22||Last Wednesday at 2:29 PM|
The last several posts handily separate the hep cats from the deplorables. For shits and giggles we can ask that insufferable troll ("Tell me about great old movies, but gosh, I've never seen a B&W movie, and I know they're not for me") for his take on Nico.
|by Anonymous||reply 23||Last Wednesday at 2:31 PM|
R1 John Cale is amazing. Lou Reed and Nico get the most inches written about their music but Cale was essential to VU and Nico's solo albums.
|by Anonymous||reply 24||Last Wednesday at 2:35 PM|
I find her fascinating. She was a sort of Zelig it seems. She claims to have been in an acting class with Marilyn Monroe. If anyone’s seen ‘the sandpiper’ you can spot her in the background in some of the scenes where Charles Bronson is holding an outdoor seminar. She was an extra on the film alongside another 60s fixture, Stash de Rola.
R21 in that book he talks about another tragic starlet who they meet when they go to Paris, another Fellini starlet who was messed up on drugs with abscesses on her body from injecting if I remember correctly. The daughter of a South American movie star… I figure this was a thinly disguised Tina Aumont.
Here is Nico with Elia Kazan
She seemed to loathe anything mainstream and was always drawn more to the underground worlds of Warhol and garrell.
I read in a few places that she was initially cast opposite Alain delon in ‘Plein soleil’ but was replaced by Marie laforet at the last minute. I could actually see her in that movie it certainly would have added to her mystique having a couple more classics on her resume. She was fantastic playing herself in ‘la dolce vita’ speaking a mix of German and Italian.
|by Anonymous||reply 25||Last Wednesday at 2:41 PM|
I believe she was on Methadone by the time she moved to Edinburgh and no longer lived the life of a junkie. She died in Ibiza from a brain haemorrhage while she was riding a bike.
|by Anonymous||reply 26||Last Wednesday at 2:43 PM|
Every female post-punk vocalist has a bit of Nico's DNA in their delivery. The Marble Index is considered a proto goth album with good reason.
|by Anonymous||reply 27||Last Wednesday at 2:44 PM|
Marianne faithful sings ‘a song for Nico’ in which she includes the line “and will delon be still a c**t” she co-starred with delon too in ‘girl on a motorcycle’ so I guess she knows what she’s talking about
|by Anonymous||reply 28||Last Wednesday at 2:45 PM|
I always thought she had a statuesque presence and look that was similar to Marisa Mell, another tragic starlet of the same era who ended up living in relative obscurity and it seems squalor.
|by Anonymous||reply 29||Last Wednesday at 2:49 PM|
IlRC she claimed to have slept with Jeanne Moreau in the James young book ‘songs they never play on the radio’
|by Anonymous||reply 30||Last Wednesday at 2:50 PM|
I've written about Nico in the Jackson Browne thread. Her first album is marvelous, even though she hated it. Solid baroque pop with a folk influence.
|by Anonymous||reply 31||Last Wednesday at 3:02 PM|
She and Jean Sobieski (an Alain delon type) made a beautiful looking couple in the film strip-tease
|by Anonymous||reply 32||Last Wednesday at 3:05 PM|
We need a multipart documentary about all these exquisite creatures.
|by Anonymous||reply 33||Last Wednesday at 3:06 PM|
I think she can be spotted dancing in the crowd to ‘the mamas and the papas’ on one of the documentaries maybe ‘Monterey pop’
|by Anonymous||reply 34||Last Wednesday at 3:07 PM|
I wonder if she and Veruschka knew each other although from some of the speculation about her personal beliefs they would have probably been opposites. Veruschka is another who seemed to shun the mainstream in favor of more artistic pursuits. The other icon in the same crowd was Donyale Luna who seems to have been in the same circles as most of the 60s icons: Mia farrow, klaus Kinski, Warhol, Brian Jones…
|by Anonymous||reply 35||Last Wednesday at 3:11 PM|
I'm not familiar with her solo work (I will check out some of the above video links later), but I've always loved her vocals on "I'll Be Your Mirror." I guess she's off-key, but that makes it better to me. It's such a sweet song, lyrically, especially from a band like VU. Maybe it would have been saccharine rather than sweet, pretty rather than beautiful, if a "better" singer had done it.
|by Anonymous||reply 36||Last Wednesday at 3:33 PM|
As far as I know, Nico’s only real female friend was Jean Seberg. She got close to Seberg when they were both living in Paris. Nico claimed she witnessed CIA agents spying on Seberg. She said they were easy to spot because they “looked vulgar.”
|by Anonymous||reply 37||Last Wednesday at 3:36 PM|
R37 she was also friendly with Tina Aumont they both appeared in the Garrel film with Seberg. Seems it was quite a sordid group, by that time I think Jean had had numerous breakdowns and already looked a shell of herself.
|by Anonymous||reply 38||Last Wednesday at 3:40 PM|
R36 Actually Nico had a good singing voice. She had an “operatic” singing voice, like Grace Slick. In the Velvets Lou Reed forced her to sing in a soft and wispy voice. He actually bullied her into singing that way.
|by Anonymous||reply 39||Last Wednesday at 3:44 PM|
She publicly, and on the record, "renounced" her looks. That's saying something, for one of the true ur-supermodels. Really stunning photos of her in her modeling career in the very early '60s have been appearing lately on Tumblr. She didn't give a damn about her 'beauty,' and I don't get the idea she was being coy. She saw it as an impediment to her being taken seriously as a singer and song-writer. Her lyrics are the culmination of the Velvet Underground take on things, sort of a summation of everything that Warhol was all about, and hence, the pinnacle of the Romantic movement, and its ultimate capitulation in favor of something that can only be called desolate. It wasn't an act, not a pose. She was The End of Romanticism, and wasn't fucking around about it.
|by Anonymous||reply 40||Last Wednesday at 4:42 PM|
No complaints about Christa. Other than the anti-Semitic glee and pissy ego.
But the "& Nico" in " The Velvet Underground & Nico" always makes me laugh.
And R35's iconophilia is creepy.
Enough with the false construction of "Iconic." The term is meaningless in these contexts in its etymology and definition, except for illiterates using it as a lazy, all-purpose standard of influence and esteem for people who are not comparable in many ways.
|by Anonymous||reply 41||Last Wednesday at 4:47 PM|
The name came from Latin, Nico means "I desire".
|by Anonymous||reply 42||Last Wednesday at 4:50 PM|
And the whole icon thing is because it makes the perfect anagram, like satan Santa.
|by Anonymous||reply 43||Last Wednesday at 4:57 PM|
Nico was everywhere. Here she is in La Dolce Vita.
|by Anonymous||reply 44||Last Wednesday at 5:17 PM|
Nico with Brian Jones at Monterey Pop
|by Anonymous||reply 45||Last Wednesday at 5:29 PM|
I don't remember where I read/heard this (or if I just made it up in my head), but I believe when Nico was dating Jim Morrison, they went out in the desert somewhere Death Valley, smoked peyote, and had an extreme spiritual experience together.
|by Anonymous||reply 46||Last Wednesday at 5:47 PM|
[quote]The last several posts handily separate the hep cats from the deplorables. For shits and giggles we can ask that insufferable troll ("Tell me about great old movies, but gosh, I've never seen a B&W movie, and I know they're not for me") for his take on Nico.
Who are the "deplorables" in this thread? Most people responding seem to be aware of 'who' Nico is. Unless I cannot see those posts because I already have that "insufferable troll" blocked.
There always has to be some smug annoying idiot who comes in and ruins a thread. Basically tries to stir up shit where there isn't any.
|by Anonymous||reply 47||Last Wednesday at 7:47 PM|
You read my posts wrong R47. I'm saying the people posting in this thread quite knowledgeable about the demimonde, are the hep cats, and the deplorables are elsewhere on DL, stanning over Belinda Carlisle and tiktok hos.
|by Anonymous||reply 48||Last Wednesday at 8:27 PM|
I like that photo above, from the Monterey Pop Festival. Nico sporting a briefcase, like she's there for a business meeting. Brian Jones was so bombed at that event, it was a miracle he could stand on 2 feet.
|by Anonymous||reply 49||Last Thursday at 4:46 AM|
R41 sorry I creeped you out. It’s not exactly iconophilia those mentioned are generally referred to as icons in their corners. Okay so I was a little lazy in using the term but I don’t think it’s creepy.
|by Anonymous||reply 50||Last Thursday at 5:19 AM|
Unfortunately with Nico she was not known to be the best mother and didn’t she introduce her son “with delon” to heroin. If that’s the case I do find her problematic as beautiful and interesting as she was there’s really no excuse getting your kid addicted to the hard stuff.
|by Anonymous||reply 51||Last Thursday at 5:22 AM|
Marc Maron interviews Jackson Browne today and they talk all about Nico.
|by Anonymous||reply 52||Last Thursday at 5:28 AM|