Read Nico: Songs They Never Play on the Radio by James EdwardYoung Online


The funniest and truest rock biography ever writtenIn 1982, Nico - former model, film actress, singer with the Velvet Underground, 'darling' of Andy Walhol's Factory, and latterly drug addict - began a comeback to her chequerboard career.James Young was the keyboard player hired to play in Nico's ramshackle band on her world tour throughout the 1980s until her tragic deathThe funniest and truest rock biography ever writtenIn 1982, Nico - former model, film actress, singer with the Velvet Underground, 'darling' of Andy Walhol's Factory, and latterly drug addict - began a comeback to her chequerboard career.James Young was the keyboard player hired to play in Nico's ramshackle band on her world tour throughout the 1980s until her tragic death in 1988.This moving, yet often hilariously funny account of Nico's life, is written by a man who came to know well the extraordinary Berlin chanteuse and Fellini siren.A sharply observed memoir, utterly fresh... a wonderful array of characters... - Pete Clark, Mail on SundayWildly entertaining, and often disgustingly funny... a terrific writer - Mike Petty, Literary ReviewI've read some books about the Rock and Roll business and I'd have to say this was in the top two - a brilliant book - Mark Radcliffe, Radio 5Whoever publishes this book deserves applause. And whoever wrote it deserves a standing ovation... - Danny Sugarman, Author of No One Gets Out of Here Alive...

Title : Nico: Songs They Never Play on the Radio
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780099275718
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 207 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Nico: Songs They Never Play on the Radio Reviews

  • Ian
    2019-03-08 06:38

    Teutonic LaughterDespite 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 MaidenThis memoir lays out the veins of the Ice Maiden for all to see.Andy Warhol said somewhere that Nico reminded him of an IBM computer with a Greta Garbo accent.I'm sure I read this in one of his books, but I can't locate it.Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Mike Lester
    2019-02-28 07:14

    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 book down and didn't pick it up again for a few days. Couldn't concentrate on it anymore. I loved that woman. There are certain people that bring out a nurturing side of me; Dario Argento is one (I just want to feed him enormous amounts of pasta), Edie Sedgwick is another. And then there is Nico. She needed a hug. More than anybody. James Young was part of her backing band in the later stages of her career, and this book is about the last couple of tours Nico did with this band (they were called The Faction). The book feels more like a diary of the tours than an actual bio, and I like this since the author was someone intimately associated with the subject. Makes it seem more real to the reader somehow. And the style makes Nico more real, too. She doesn't come across as the terminally aloof Valkyrie we're all familiar with, but as a human being caught in a deep spiral of sadness, depression, and addiction. When the author recounts how they were approaching the border of Romania(?) and Nico was shoving balls of heroin into parts unknown, all the while asking "Are we near the boooaaarderrr?", I literally wept. This woman should have been on a pedestal, not in a dilapidated minivan hiding heroin in her ass. I always wonder what would have become of her if she had followed up her role in La Dolce Vita with something else (probably not much would have changed. The film world is the same as the music world, vampiric and sleazy--not in a good way). I loved this woman. I love her music. I love her voice. Always will. On second thought, I'd use Peabody's Wayback to find her and give her a hug. 4 subdued, yet vibrant, stars.....

  • MJ Nicholls
    2019-02-24 03:17

    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.His character-assassination of John Cale is one of the most surpising moments: a lifelong Japanese fan of Cale comes to his dressing room, makes a shy speech and hands him a present. Cale tears it open. Inside is a small bottle of alcohol. A freshly-clean Cale hands it back to the girl, saying: "I don't drink." Ouch. The legacy of the Velvet Underground, apart from the music, is a trail of drug abuse, asshole behaviour, and laughable egoism. Young rocks it home.

  • Christopher
    2019-03-17 04:30

    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 the 80s. This tour would wind through many years and countries, with over 1,000 gigs played by the time of her death in 1988.For me, the book played out like an Alex Cox remake of the classic comedy My Favorite Year, with Nico in the role of Peter O'Toole's lovably washed-up alcoholic screen legend and the further addition of a madcap supporting cast of drug-addled hangers-on straight from the world of Sid & Nancy.If only Nico possessed the same faded devil-may-care charm as O'Toole's cracked actor, Mr. Water's claim of dark comedy could have been more apt (though who am I to argue what makes John Waters laugh?). Nico is a sad, bitter, hollow soul in this book, completely enslaved to heroin and obsessed with her own decay and mortality. Not exactly the life of the party.We do get glimpses of the author's rare moments with Nico when she let her guard down, when she stole a rare smile, or in perhaps the most simply beautiful moment in the book, when Nico sits in a boat during a sunset, giggling and singing a children's song.Such moments are mere sentences in a book filled with pages and pages of miserable people performing desperate acts in order to achieve their almighty high, whether it be in the form of heroin, prostitutes or other even more arcane pursuits.This wasn't the easiest book to read, though it was a very strong portrait of a woman known best as the ice princess of the Velvet Underground, the emotionless beauty whose face could have been a mirror or a movie screen.In the book, Nico is being interviewed by a particularly clueless radio jockey who introduces her as "the Femme Fatale herself, Nico." To which she responds, in dry earnestness, "That song was actually not written about me, you know."Her great frustration based on Young's account is that she was only ever appreciated as the diva behind Warhol's banana; however, we also discover a Nico who is eager to re-live her glory days, hallucinating Jim Morrisson from the window of her tour bus and weeping alone in her dressing room when Bob Dylan refused to attend one of her shows.Largely, this book was more heartbreak than humor for me, but the nuance of Nico's charm is not completely absent - a spice that flavored her legend, but left me wishing for more.

  • Ian
    2019-03-02 05:28

    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 particularly generously. Nico's manager is given a pseudonym but the magic of the internet makes it easy to find his name; he is portrayed more affectionately though not I suspect as how he would like to portray himself. The book's candour is one of its strengths, but I would love to know how it got past the publisher's libel lawyers.These short words do not do justice to how much I love this book. It is one of the best things about being a working musician I have read. Nico is one of music's heroic figures and the world is emptier without her.

  • minnie
    2019-03-03 03:19

    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 always seems so cold and aloof, but James Young has definitely got as close as anyone will.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-02-26 05:21

    Manchester at that hunt down the deals

  • Flashflood
    2019-02-24 07:28

    A wonderful book. Made me drop "Backing musician for humourless heroine addict" from my list of potential career changes.

  • Erin Wallace
    2019-03-07 04:15

    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.

  • Lindsay
    2019-03-16 04:19

    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!

  • Pat Fitzgerald
    2019-02-19 10:11

    Most honest book about being in a deadend band I've ever read. Funny as hell too.

  • Tuck
    2019-03-12 11:36

    fuck yeah. the solution to the problem is to read faster.

  • Ray Dunsmore
    2019-03-04 11:22

    A darkly funny memoir of Nico's final decade on the road, written by the keyboard player who'd been assigned to her backing band in the early 80s and ended up seeing her through to the very end. It's a compelling read, one that deserves mention in the same breath as others of its kind - not necessarily tour memoirs, but books that shine a hard light on the necrotic narcosis of heroin addiction - Trainspotting, William Burroughs' Junky and the like. It's a deeply sad story, but Young imbues it with enough comic absurdism to keep you from wallowing in the mires too long.

  • Diane
    2019-03-10 10:34

    This was a dark and depressing account of Nico's last decade. She was addicted to heroin and depressed and was still touring thanks to a greedy promotor. The author ( a hired drummer) tries to add some humor to the story by telling tales of some of the surrounding characters but it all seemed sad and grotesque. I enjoyed the appearance of poet Alan Ginsburg but overall I was exhausted by this tired tale.

  • Randy Russberg
    2019-02-28 05:10

    One of the best written books on rock n roll. Deeply felt, mesmerized with its subject - the aging self destructive mysterious star, one of the most beautiful and uncompromising women of popular music, extremely original Nico.

  • Jane Chakrarthy
    2019-03-09 11:29

    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 there is a poignant beauty in reading about someone who uncompromisingly took her path ,demons an all and carried on doing what she wanted to do. The fact that she did so many concerts when many would have folded around this time is quite amazing.. Fair enough some of the concerts were a mess, however, as Young points out that was probably more to do with the dodgy management and his bands youth and inexperience than because of Nico, who seemed to come, go to the bathroom to "load up" do her thing and leave. Short and interesting read esp if you have some prior knowledge of Nico

  • Ben
    2019-02-27 10:38

    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-legged rocker dandy with a bouffant hairdo remniscent of 18th century Versailles and Dylan circa Highway 61.' The story goes on to take in John Cale and grimly hilarious descriptions of their tours of Japan and Eastern Europe. I didn't know the music at the time I read this. But listening to it since, I found it surprisingly good and listenable.

  • Clay
    2019-02-27 11:29

    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 how Nico looked forward to meeting Bob Dylan but it wasn't described properly, just a couple of sentences. There was no real narrative either. I wouldn't really recommend this book at all.

  • Michael Brown
    2019-03-21 10:29

    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 not have suffered by being a little bit longer. But then again isn't the worst thing a book can be ALSO the best thing it can be - Not long enough.

  • Monica
    2019-03-19 11:36

    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 general. I wouldn't suggest this book to anyone but a hardcore Nico fan.

  • Zac
    2019-02-21 08:29

    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 only chuckled a couple of times but it was quite an entertaining and light read.

  • Kelly-lee Stewart
    2019-03-06 09:35

    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?

  • Carolyn
    2019-03-09 07:26

    Bloody funny.

  • Kim
    2019-03-07 04:33

    The author achieves a remarkable feat: this book is funny, despite the bleak state of Nico's life at this time. It is also very loving.

  • James
    2019-03-20 09:16

    One of the two or three best fly on the wall rock books ever.

  • Ben Crisp
    2019-03-10 09:09

    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.

  • Mirkle
    2019-03-07 11:36

    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
    2019-02-25 08:30

    A grim depiction of touring as slum-job, of the fallen icon as junkie. Wonderful writing. A stunning - sad - memoir.

  • Steven Corbett
    2019-02-20 05:35

    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.

  • Raechel
    2019-03-18 11:16

    Don't do drugs - drink tea instead, it's much nicer