You Are Beautiful and You Are Alone: The Biography of Nico

Jennifer Otter Bickerdike. Hachette, $31 (512p) ISBN 978-0-306-92290-9
Rock historian Bickerdike (Why Vinyl Matters) offers an impressive corrective to the “one-sided narrative... perpetuated about Nico” in an account that unpacks the influential musician’s life. Drawing on exclusive interviews and archives, Bickerdike dissects the “apathetic misogyny and stereotyping” that denied Nico (1938–1988) her place in rock history, making “her story a chilling modern narrative on the fetishism of beauty.” Haunted by her youth in Germany during WWII, the vulnerable and beautiful Christa Päffgen assumed the persona of “Nico” as a teen in 1956 before going on to model for Vogue, landing acting roles in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960) and Andy Warhol’s Chelsea Girls (1966), and dating such rock stars as Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison. Nico performed with the Velvet Underground—seducing fans with her “eerie” voice—until professional jealousy forced her from the group a year after joining. Even in the midst of having her talent and, mainly, looks disparaged by the music industry, former bandmates, and friends (“Warhol called her old and fat in 1980”), Bickerdike underscores how Nico continued to make music “against all odds,” touring solo for two decades and blazing the trail for future rock legends including Debbie Harry, Patti Smith, and Kate Bush. Music lovers will be enthralled. Agent: Matthew Elblonk, DeFiore and Co. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 06/11/2021
Release date: 08/10/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-6729-4
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