Guestpost by Roger Grund, on Christa Päffgen, best know as Nico.

Liebes kleines Mütterlein

Nun darf ich endlich bei Dir sein
Die Sehnsucht und die Einsamkeit
Erlösen sich in Seeligkeit.

(Mütterlein, from Desertshore, 1971)

The model, actress and singer Nico was born as Christa Päffgen on October 16th 1938 in Cologne and died on Ibiza in 1988. Nico was intimate with the emerging cinema and rock aristocracy of her days in Paris, Rome, London and New York. Andy Warhol deemed her as one of his superstars. Nico sang on the first Velvet Underground album. She inspired Lou Reed to write ‘Berlin’. Nico recorded acclaimed and highly original albums, often with John Cale lending a helping hand. All this is well known and has become part of  rock mythology.

Reading about Nico, the adjective mysterious dominates the word count. Nico remains at a distance even in her more personal, often German-spoken songs. As befits a model the surface is shiny and made-up, but the inside stays out of view. The distance reflects the longing and loneliness of her world view. And this is what resonates still today. It is as if she questions: ‘’What place is there for love? What matters is finding that place, if it exists.’’

If it exists, indeed.

Nico – Eulogy to Lenny Bruce (Roger Grund remix)
Nico – Das Lied Vom Einsamen Mädchen
Nico – Mutterlein

BONUS: Video for Nico singing Serge Gainsbourg’s Strip-Tease.

Written by guuzbourg

French girls, singing. No, sighing. Making me sigh. Ah.

This article has 6 comments

  1. Sky

    An must-read on Nico’s last years is James Young’s excellent Songs They Never Play on the Radio, bleak, highly depressing, and darn funny as well. A member of her last band described her – opposite to “Nico from the Velvet Underground” – as “Narco from the London Underground”.

  2. Roger Grund

    It is always dangerous to form an opinion on someone like Nico (by the way she was addicted to heroin for a large part het life) based on anecdotal evidence from years ago. What remains is her musical legacy, which is what I’d like to focus on.

  3. mordi

    i love nico so much – chelsea girls is an amazing album.
    thanks for the excellent quality version of striptease.

  4. Roger Grund

    The remix of ‘Eulogy’ is a true-to-the-original, organic and iPod friendly remix. My original has a harsh stereo separation with Nico on one channel and the guitar (Tim Hardin or Jackson Browne)on the other. Also I added a minimum of space and noise reduction to the mix. Thanks to Guuzbourg for posting.