Listen to THESE DAYS by Nico.
Listen to THE FAIREST OF THE SEASONS by Nico.
Jason dropping in.
I don't know if there are any rules of blogging, but if I had to contribute to them, I would add "never youtube before starting your post"*.
Youtube case in point - this one. It started fairly innocuous enough - I launched youtube to grab the Royal Tenenbaums clip that got me in to these songs. At the same time, my subconscious must have reminded me that both of these songs are from Nico's "Chelsea Girl" album and I remembered that I'd been meaning to see if there was a video online of my favourite Chelsea song - (a very ELO-sounding) Blue Day by Suggs (lead singer of Madness and our official song for the 1997 FA Cup - which we went on to win).
In the "Related Videos" side-bar was another "Blue Day" by late 70s/early 80s Aussie/Kiwi new-wave/rock band Mi-Sex. Following that link, and then checking out the related videos took me on a trip down the particular lane of that genre and beyond. Through Mondo Rock and Dear Enemy, past The Swingers and Player One, on down The Eurogliders and James Freud, taking a left at Icehouse and Sherbet, over the hump at Kids in the Kitchen and Pseudo Echo, slowing down for Ganggajang and Redgum, across the Monitors and Dynamic Hepnotics, towards The Uncanny X-Men, Kim Wilde and Sharon O'Neil to pull in at Rose Tattoo and Max Merritt & The Meteors.
And if you were to only check out one of those tracks, I'd plump for the last act with their classic Slipping Away.
And then you can read what's left of this post about the Teutonic beauty that was Christa Päffgen - aka "Nico".
Nico sprung out of Andy Warhol's Factory films straight into the Velvet Underground and is most noted as being the voice of "All Tomorrow's Parties". Its a very distinctive voice. Low, droning, limited in range but utterly compelling. Only making one record with the Underground (the one that mattered), Nico released her debut solo album that same year (1967) - Chelsea Girl.
All of the songs of that record were written by famous "friends" - Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and even a few non-Velvets like Bob Dylan, Tim Hardin and Jackson Browne (the latter wrote these 2 songs).
Very simple songs. A guitar. Some strings. Chamber-music from another world. And, strangely enough, Nico hated them.
As for the Royal Tenenbaums clip that got me in to Nico as a solo artist - watch for yourself!
* I would also contribute "add a mandatory breathalyser test" to any rules for surfing eBay.
Photo: NEW ENGLAND, 2001. Taken by Jason Bryant.