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Is Nico the John Barnes of Rock?
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keith a
keith a
9123 posts

Is Nico the John Barnes of Rock?
May 21, 2008, 17:42
I was just listening to the Rebel Rebel tribute to Bowie cd that was given away with this months Uncut, when a live Nico cover of Heroes came on.

My god. It's dreadful. It makes Sandy shaw's cover of Sympathy For The Devil sound like some classic cover! Trust me, Bubblehead! ; )

When she tunelessly wails the "I can remember..." bit (which in Bowie's hands is one of the great moments in music for me) slightly out of time, it sounded like some weird paradox - as if the one thing she couldn't remember were the actual words to the song. It was one small stop from "I, I can remember...er, what was it again?"

Anyway, it got me wondering why she's so revered, when she's like John Barnes, who played more bad games for the England footie team than anyone else I can think of. OK, he made that amazing run against Brazil all those years ago, and yes Nico graced the 1st Velvets LP (still one of the greatest albums ever IMO)...but what did either of them do afterwards?

One stood on the left wing, doing next to nothing, a shadow of what we hoped for. The other reduced your old favourites to some tuneless dirge, a shadow of their former selves.

Still, at least John Barnes played well at club level and could rap.

Sort of...
IanB
IanB
6762 posts

Edited May 21, 2008, 18:09
Re: Is Nico the John Barnes of Rock?
May 21, 2008, 17:53
keith a wrote:
I was just listening to the Rebel Rebel tribute to Bowie cd that was given away with this months Uncut, when a live Nico cover of Heroes came on.

My god. It's dreadful. It makes Sandy shaw's cover of Sympathy For The Devil sound like some classic cover! Trust me, Bubblehead! ; )



Well you know to a lot of folks VU never did a thing wrong and Nico is kind of frozen in aspic as the blonde Wagnerian goddess of s&m rock and roll. Nico is also a beneficiary of 40 years of rock crit fantasies. They come on all Mark Corrigan in a "maybe she's just mad enough to shag me" kind of a way.

You just can't say she was kinda average. People swear by her genius just as others will tell you the Floyd never did anything good after Syd, that all the best Marley records were on Trojan, that Trout Mask is a work of genius, that Exile is Keef's best album and that Joy Division were more valuable than Magazine ;-) These are now accepted truisms that almost transcend analysis.

To be fair there are some really really good Nico recordings but no where near as many as the critical legacy would suggest. I would argue that she didn't make any records as good as "Broken English" or Annette Peacock's barkingly brilliant "I'm The One" but it is all in the ear of the whatsit.
Sir John Dunn
Sir John Dunn
530 posts

Re: Is Nico the John Barnes of Rock?
May 21, 2008, 18:01
I love Nico but I also hate her, too.
Lawrence
9471 posts

Re: Is Nico the John Barnes of Rock?
May 21, 2008, 18:04
Yeah but the rest of Drama In Exile, bar another crappy cover ("Waiting For the Man"), is ace. No harmonium that time but a fairly good attempt to make Nico's material more contemporary ala Marianne Faithful.
singingringingtree
singingringingtree
964 posts

Re: Is Nico the John Barnes of Rock?
May 21, 2008, 18:24
fuck me, "marble index" + "desert shore" are SOMETHING ELSE tho ,.... but you gotta be in the mood for 'em (i rarely am, these days) ... "frozen warnings" ... what a song!
Sir John Dunn
Sir John Dunn
530 posts

Re: Is Nico the John Barnes of Rock?
May 21, 2008, 18:44
Meanwhile, down by the riverside…..

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=JgdZFnZ6M0k
Lawrence
9471 posts

Re: Is Nico the John Barnes of Rock?
May 21, 2008, 19:11
And in the field:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=mhFkLMiKtx0&feature=related
vince
vince
1628 posts

Re: Is Nico the John Barnes of Rock?
May 21, 2008, 19:11
Chelsea Girls has to be one of the finest records ever made.

Desert Shore/MarbleIndex/The End have their moments too, and even Camera Obscura has it's charms. Just be wary of any of the indie stuff she did mid-80's for Flicknife etc. Very dodgy.

Saw her live at a club called the Sensateria in B'ham in the mid-80's. Her promoter offered to introduce us so excitedly we rushed to the dressing room only to find her jacking up into her arse, leather trousers still on. A very sad, pathetic picture. She was pretty unpleasant too.

Calling her John Barnes is a bit off though. She wasn't that bad!
Lawrence
9471 posts

Re: Is Nico the John Barnes of Rock?
May 21, 2008, 19:17
Of course, going back to the subject, this clip shows Nico playing "Heroes" live, and not only is the version bad but she looks awful!

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=daFgAYAH4F4&feature=related

Was she really THAT smacked-out in the 80s? Yikes!
Sir John Dunn
Sir John Dunn
530 posts

Re: Is Nico the John Barnes of Rock?
May 21, 2008, 19:37
vince wrote:
Chelsea Girls has to be one of the finest records ever made.

Desert Shore/MarbleIndex/The End have their moments too, and even Camera Obscura has it's charms. Just be wary of any of the indie stuff she did mid-80's for Flicknife etc. Very dodgy.

Saw her live at a club called the Sensateria in B'ham in the mid-80's. Her promoter offered to introduce us so excitedly we rushed to the dressing room only to find her jacking up into her arse, leather trousers still on. A very sad, pathetic picture. She was pretty unpleasant too.

Calling her John Barnes is a bit off though. She wasn't that bad!


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