This biography follows the singer Nico as she feeds her heroin habit with one last tour. Nico's last days were spent performing her strange music to pay for her long-term heroin habit. She was most well-known in the 60's through involvement with the Velvet Underground, affiliated Andy Warhol projects, and a role in a Fellini film. Now, in 1982, her fame has faded, and a team of musicians (included author James Young) has been assembled to support her on a new tour. Young covers Nico's childhood in Germany. As a young woman, Nico was raped by a soldier who was ultimately executed for his crime. As a young woman in New York, Nico succeeds as a model, artist, and It-girl for the bohemian underground of the day. Even at the height of her success is a dark, traumatized personality. Her drug problems begin some time during this period. By the time the author meets her in 1982, Nico's success is long past and the toll of her intense opiate habit has left its mark on her body. There is a renewed interest in Nico's music and the new band embarks on an international tour that goes from Italy to the USA. Young is full of anecdotes about this tour. He finds Nico to be charismatic and depressing. Even diminished, she is still a magnet for interesting personalities like Allen Ginsberg and John Cale, who appear in the text. Nico causes a riot by singing an inappropriate song in Germany, her harmonium shielding her from the barrage of bottles thrown at her. She visits Tom Waits' hotel home in America. She tries angel dust in Los Angeles. There is never an end to her search for heroin. She meets her end when she crashes her bike on the way to a drug deal. The book is a colorful rendition of a story that cannot end well. It is at times very funny and very sad, essential reading for anyone interested in this artist.
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Best part of story, including ending:
The behind the scenes stories ring very true. Nico is one of the most enigmatic personalities in rock music, so its very interested to read this stuff.
Best scene in story:
I like the bit where the band visits Tom Waits at his weird hotel home, the Tropicana.
Opinion about the main character:
Nico seems completely traumatized and miserable very much of the time. Drugs are her only source of satisfaction. It is rough to see a talented person locked in a life like that.