Nico’s first single, before Chelsea Girl and before The Velvet Underground, but still involved with heavy friends. Brian Jones and Jimmy Page producing and playing guitar, can’t confirm who was doing what as the information contradicts itself, but let’s presume Jimmy was playing the guitar and Brian was producing. The single was released by Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham on the fledgling Immediate label in the same years as its birth (1965). It was only the third single on the label and although it fared badly they did manage a rather fab video at West India Docks in London before the developers moved in and created Yuppie office land.
The song was written by Canadian troubadour Gordon Lightfoot. He had a hit with the song in that same year, reaching No.12 in the Canadian charts. The song has been covered by The Replacements, Turley Richards and The Ian Campbell Folk Group but this intriguing version reveals a Folk/Pop Nico probably quite unaware of what she was trying to achieve. It’s hard to imagine how she perceived her uniqueness in relation to musical success. Her beauty must have opened doors, her demeanour must have intimidated and her voice must have perplexed. At this point she had had small roles in movies, been a model and was probably looking for another creative outlet.
It’s sad to think that an intriguing musical vision might have been even better realised if she hadn’t become adddicted to heroin in the seventies, slowing her down and confining her to just six solo studio albums in her lifetime.
Chelsea Girl 1967
The Marble Index 1969
Desert Shore 1970
The End 1974
Drama Of Exile 1981
Camera Obscura 1985
I say this because it wasn’t the heroin that made her this dark and complex character, she was that already and one album in eleven years in the seventies tells the tale of addiction destroying creativity and robbing us of greater output from a truly original artist.