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Nico: Songs They Never Play on the Radio

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  534 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
The story of Nico, former model, film actress, singer with the Velvet Underground and darling of Andy Warhol's factory. In 1982 Nico was living in Manchester, alone and interested only in feeding her heroin habit. Local promoter Dr Demetrius saw an opportunity, hired musicians to back her, rented a decrepit van and set off with Nico and the band on a disastrous tour of Ita ...more
Published July 27th 1999 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published September 1992)
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Ian "Marvin" Graye
Feb 25, 2011 Ian "Marvin" Graye rated it it was amazing
Shelves: muse-ik, reviews
Teutonic Laughter

Despite the Teutonic subject matter, this is one of the funniest music books I have ever read.
James Young was Nico's keyboard player for many years during her solo post-VU period, leading up to her unfortunate death.
So he had a long time to witness her at her worst and most self-abusive.
It must have been painful to have to live with her shenanigans and to be financially dependent on her for a musical career as well.

The Veins of the Ice Maiden

This memoir lays out the veins of the
Mike Lester
Dec 02, 2011 Mike Lester rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I had a time machine, or if Mr. Peabody would let me use the Wayback, I'd go back and check out Nico with the Velvets. But that's just me. A lot of people say they remember where they were and what they were doing when Kennedy was shot or the Challenger exploded, but for me, it was Nico's death. I was sitting at my desk in a London hotel room, reading Dracula (Lucy was just about to get the stake and things were really cooking for Van Helsing), when I heard the news over the radio. I put the ...more
Jul 09, 2012 Christopher rated it liked it
I found this book while on vacation in London and was sold by John Water's quote on the back cover, praising the sad dark humor of James Young's account of life on tour with one post-glory Nico.

Sad? Absolutely. Dark. Oh, hell yes. Funny? I did chuckle a few times, but only in the way that one sometimes has to laugh to keep from crying in the face of profound hopelessness.

Young was a musician in Nico's back-up band when the Warhol Factory-era icon attempted a mostly disastrous comeback tour in th
MJ Nicholls
A wild, irreverent romp through the darkest moment in Nico's history. OK, so every moment in Nico's career was "the darkest" but this is much darker.

Young writes with a lacerating wit, taking no prisoners as he evokes the chancers, hangers-on, druggies and lunatics touring with Nico on her 1000-date world tour.

His ear for detail, dialect, character is amazing. He evokes the sleazy degeneracy of the scene, taking us away from Nico, the dull junkie, into a wider world of nihilism and madness.

Aug 25, 2014 Ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, music, drugs, re-read
This is James Young's memoir of his time as keyboardist and arranger in Nico's last touring band. It is a fascinating account of life at the bottom rung of the musical ladder. Nico herself remains an enigmatic and unknowable figure, almost completely absorbed in herself and her heroin addiction.

One thing I am struck by how is unafraid Young is of painting very unflattering pictures of real people in the book. John Cale comes across as a complete dickhead and Nico's son Ari is not dealt with part
Dec 13, 2007 minnie rated it really liked it
This is one of the best music biographies I ever read, from memory it was written by the guy who played keyboards in Nico's eighties touring band, and on some of her later albums.James Young writes this book as an observer, as he travels Europe with Nico and her band,and meets a lot of eccentrics junkies and oddballs.At this period of her life Nico was a hardened junkie and sought out drugs wherever she went,I don't think anyone can possibly write a book that would portray the true Nico as she a ...more
Erin Wallace
Nov 09, 2014 Erin Wallace rated it it was ok
Shelves: music
Funny, evocative, well written but also shockingly insensitive, stigmatizing, and sexist. Why is it that male rock stars, in their addictions and debauchery, are lionized while Nico is mocked and stripped of all dignity? Fans of her music will find this book sorely lacking in music-related content.
Jul 04, 2012 Lindsay rated it it was amazing
Nico is middle aged, plump and addicted to heroin. She moves to Manchester and at one point shares a flat with John Cooper Clarke. Can't express how funny and Manchester this book is...a MUST read for sure!
Charles Thorpe
Nov 20, 2016 Charles Thorpe rated it it was amazing
Captures the essence of Nico with dark, but gentle, humour.
Jul 07, 2014 Bettie☯ marked it as wish-list
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Tony Wilson- 24 hour party people
Manchester at that time.

to hunt down the deals
Apr 14, 2011 Tuck marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
fuck yeah. the solution to the problem is to read faster.
Pat Fitzgerald
May 07, 2012 Pat Fitzgerald rated it it was amazing
Most honest book about being in a deadend band I've ever read. Funny as hell too.
Jane Chakrarthy
Jul 22, 2012 Jane Chakrarthy rated it really liked it
James Young played in Nico's revival period, long gone were the days of modelling for Channel,the structure of The Velvet Underground, the major parties with the "elite" of rock and the easy free drugs that came part of that Parcel. This book describes a period of time that had Nico wandering; looking for a light that perhaps became wan a long time ago, unfortunate decisions, life circumstances and unfailing desire to cloud them out with the drugs that came her way. Depressing it can appear but ...more
Apr 15, 2014 Ben rated it it was amazing
A tremendous ride through the druggy late punk Manchester scene written by the piano player in Nico's last band. She was an ex-Warhol factory girl briefly parachuted into the Velvet Underground and latterly a very distinctive solo voice. This book paints a picture of her struggling from one heroin shot to the next but still managing to be stylish, charismatic and talented. Young really writes superbly. Here's his description of John Cooper Clarke 'His own creation. A slim volume. A tall stick-le ...more
Jun 10, 2014 Clay rated it it was ok
Shelves: music-related
I don't like to write it but this book wasn't really good. I thought that most events seemed to have been made up, there is a LOT of direct dialogue and I don't see how the author could remember all that. There are also so many clichés. For example there's a scene where he claims that their things have been stolen after a gig in Poland. I don't know, of course it could have happened but it seemed to have been made up. There were also some scenes with a lot of potential like when it was described ...more
Michael Brown
Apr 04, 2012 Michael Brown rated it really liked it
What did I know about the Velvet Underground? Not much. Still don't. What did I know about Nico? Probably less, but I know a bit more now. And even though this book is heavily impressionistic and I'm inclined to question the complete authenticity of some of the wittier episodes, there's no doubt it's an interesting window into the twilight of a cult and it is very, very entertaining to read and rich with colourful detail of one kind or another. In fact, it's a rare example of a book that might n ...more
Jul 25, 2010 Monica rated it it was ok
I don't know that I really LIKED this bio. I was interested in Nico and this was all I could find. The book is not well written and difficult to follow at times...the best parts were when the writer actually had something to reveal about Nico, like when her son comes to visit her and their twisted relationship is dissected. It does a good job of portraying Nico's reality in the mid 80s which was as a sad junkie with a huge amount of self loathing which came across in her hatred of women in gener ...more
Dec 31, 2015 Zac rated it liked it
Nico tours and records in the 80s with a crew of weirdos and lowlifes straight out of an Irvine Welsh novel. I was initially a bit disappointed that it did not include more biographical details about Nico, but I felt that I got a good sense of her personality and sense of humour (or lack thereof) by the end. Young is in an interesting position of being a longtime collaborator but not a lover or fellow junkie. He is an engaging and witty writer, and observant. The humour was often subtle and I on ...more
Kelly-lee Stewart
Oct 09, 2013 Kelly-lee Stewart rated it it was ok
I found this a laborious read. I think it's because I have been around too many smack heads in bands. I didn't find it funny. It was just normal shit that you have to deal with. Nico was a sad woman who just lived for her habit. Her son used to join her in jacking up. Laughing yet?
Feb 23, 2013 Carolyn rated it really liked it
Bloody funny.
Feb 05, 2011 James rated it it was amazing
One of the two or three best fly on the wall rock books ever.
Ben Crisp
Jan 07, 2014 Ben Crisp rated it really liked it
Fascinating insight into the fading cultural icon. Real look at the aftermath of fame and the drawbacks it brings. It is both an interesting but also really amusing read.
Jan 06, 2015 Mirkle rated it really liked it
Wonderfully funny, acerbic, and deprecating. Loved the John Cooper Clarke vignette. The idea that his star might rise again must have seemed awfully unlikely back then!
Simon Sweetman
Jun 16, 2013 Simon Sweetman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A grim depiction of touring as slum-job, of the fallen icon as junkie. Wonderful writing. A stunning - sad - memoir.
Steven Corbett
Sep 01, 2016 Steven Corbett rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
One of the best music bio's I've ever read. Weird, hysterically funny and totally tragic at the same time. Read in one sitting.
Sep 15, 2015 Phil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hey, guys, guess what? Still five stars (everybody who knows me will groan in agreement). :)
Burt Campbell
Jan 05, 2013 Burt Campbell rated it it was amazing
Outstanding portrait, not just of Nico, but of the culture & times.
Oct 08, 2013 Linz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
anyone who may be thinking about a career in the music industry should read this book xx
Kozmo Kliegl
Oct 21, 2010 Kozmo Kliegl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Documents the last few years of this former Andy Warhol goddess is a good story about a former/minor star making a living in late Cold War Europe.
Frankie Smith
Aug 14, 2015 Frankie Smith rated it it was amazing
"I'm down to my cottons"
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The author of the biography of Nico is incorrectly listed as James Webb Young on Google Books.

James Edward^^Young

James Edward Young played keyboards for Nico.
More about James Edward Young...

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