Saturday, February 12, 2011

Nico Saturday.

A few years ago, I picked up an old Velvet Underground album at a music exchange store in San Antonio. 

Nico was on there, and I was enchanted by that weird, throaty voice.  That enunciation, so precise. 

Nico didn't get along oh-so-well with Lou Reed, 'hired' as she were by Andy Warhol to be a pretty face for The Velvet Underground.

But I always loved her.  I read about her life, bought more of her solo stuff.

Nico was eccentric, high-maintenance, deaf in one ear, and prone to pitching fits.  Is it any wonder Andy Warhol loved her, too?

Nico always struck me as the type of girl who had to fight to get people to take her seriously.  She was so successful so young, mostly due to her European elite family.  Those looks didn't hurt, either.

But rich and pretty, Nico (real name Christa Päffgen) wanted badly to be an artist.  It was tough to do, being something of a trustafarian ...  plenty of money, little street cred.

So she moved to the States, and hung around The Velvet Underground while the rest of the band made fun of her.

But slowly -- and only after several musical bumps in the road -- Nico became a musical artist, too.

This is one of my favorite pictures of her, when she's actually grinning a little bit.

Some people are born artists; some people have to work for it.  Nico was in the second camp.

Through her insecurities and also through a drug addiction, she kept singing, kept song-writing, kept playing her little harmonium.

You were kind of a mess, Nico.  But I've always had a special place in my heart for you.


Jess ( said...

I love how anti-beauty she was, despite being gorgeous. And her voice! Oh, the voice of my teen years.

Austin Eavesdropper said...

@Jess -- THAT VOICE! I know. It's so different and wonderful. I love that it's not girly.

That Chelsea Girl™ said...

I love how she made this folksy-pop sound and made it sound effortless, not a lot of people can pull off combining the two.

Rick said...

Christa Päffgen, I had not thought of her in quite some time. A funny ecclectic lady who tried so hard to be bohemian. What a terrible waste. Breaks my heart. She finally arrived, and while bycicling on Ibiza had a minor heart attack fell off and hit her head. Found by a cab driver there was a mis diagnosis of heat exhaustion and she died of massive brain hemoraging June 1988. So long ago, it still seems like yesterday.