Christa Paffgen, known by her stage name Nico, was a German singer, songwriter, actress and model.
56 Facts About Nico
Nico had roles in several films, including Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita and Andy Warhol's Chelsea Girls.
Nico then composed songs on a harmonium, not traditionally a rock instrument.
Nico was born Christa Paffgen in Cologne to Wilhelm and Margarete "Grete" Paffgen.
When Nico was two years old, she moved with her mother and grandfather to the Spreewald forest outside Berlin to escape the World War II bombardments of Cologne.
Nico's father was conscripted into the Wehrmacht at the onset of the war, but there are several conflicting accounts as to when and how he died.
Nico attended school until the age of 13, and began selling lingerie in the exclusive department store KaDeWe, eventually getting modelling jobs in Berlin.
Nico was discovered at 16 by the photographer Herbert Tobias while both were working at a KaDeWe fashion show in Berlin.
Nico gave her the name "Nico" after a man he had fallen in love with, filmmaker Nikos Papatakis, and she used it for the rest of her life.
Nico moved to Paris and began working for Vogue, Tempo, Vie Nuove, Mascotte Spettacolo, Camera, Elle, and other fashion magazines.
In 1965, Nico met the the Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones and recorded her first single, "I'm Not Sayin'", with the B-side "The Last Mile", produced by Jimmy Page for Andrew Loog Oldham's Immediate label.
In 1967, Nico recorded his song "I'll Keep It with Mine" for her first album, Chelsea Girl.
Multi-instrumentalist John Cale wrote that Nico's long dressing room preparations, and pre-performance ritual of burning a candle, often held up performances, which especially irritated songwriter Lou Reed.
Immediately following her musical work with the Velvet Underground, Nico began work as a solo artist, performing regularly at The Dom in New York City.
Nico's harmonium anchored the accompaniment, while John Cale added an array of folk and classical instruments, and arranged the album.
Nico dyed her hair, this time from blonde to red, and began dressing mostly in black, a look that would be considered a visual prototype for the gothic rock scene that would emerge in subsequent years.
Nico released two more solo albums in the 1970s, Desertshore and The End.
Nico appeared at the Rainbow Theatre, in London, with Cale, Eno, and Kevin Ayers.
Nico performed a version of the Doors' "The End", which was the catalyst for The End.
Between 1970 and 1979, Nico made about seven films with French director Philippe Garrel.
Nico met Garrel in 1969 and contributed the song "The Falconer" to his film Le Lit de la Vierge.
Nico's first acting appearance with Garrel occurred in his 1972 film, La Cicatrice Interieure.
Nico supplied the music for this film and collaborated closely with the director.
Nico appeared in the Garrel films Anathor ; the silent Jean Seberg feature Les Hautes Solitudes, released in 1974; Un ange passe ; Le Berceau de cristal, starring Pierre Clementi, Nico and Anita Pallenberg; and Voyage au jardin des morts.
On 13 December 1974, Nico opened for Tangerine Dream's infamous concert at Reims Cathedral in Reims, France.
Around this time, Nico became involved with Berliner musician Lutz Ulbrich, guitarist for Ash Ra Tempel.
Also in this time period, Nico let her hair return to its natural brown color but continued wearing mostly black.
In September 1978, Nico performed at the Canet Roc '78 festival in Spain.
Nico made a vocal contribution to Neuronium's second album, Vuelo Quimico, as she was at the studio, by chance, while it was being recorded in Barcelona in 1978 by Michel Huygen, Carlos Guirao and Albert Gimenez.
Nico said that the music deeply moved her, so she could not help but make a contribution.
Nico returned to New York in 1979 where her comeback concert at CBGB was reviewed positively in The New York Times.
Nico began playing regularly at the Squat Theatre and other venues with Jim Tisdall accompanying her on harp and Gittler guitar.
Giacomoni's photos of Nico would be used for her next album, and would eventually be featured in a book.
Nico recorded her next studio album, Drama of Exile, in 1981.
Nico toured in 1982 with post-punk band Blue Orchids as her backing band.
That same year, Nico's supporting acts included The Sisters of Mercy and Gene Loves Jezebel.
In September 1982, Nico performed at the Deeside Leisure Centre for the Futurama Festival.
Nico recorded her final solo album, Camera Obscura, in 1985, with the Faction.
Nico was then inspired by Egyptian music and Egyptian singer and diva Oum Kalthoum.
Nico had an affair with French actor Alain Delon and, on 11 August 1962, gave birth to their son, Christian Aaron Boulogne, whom she called Ari.
Delon denied paternity and Nico had difficulty raising Ari, so the boy was raised by Delon's parents.
Nico saw herself as part of a tradition of bohemian artists, which she traced back to the Romanticism of the early 19th century.
Apart from Germany, where she grew up, and Spain, where she died, Nico lived in Italy and France in the 1950s, spent most of the 1960s in the US, and lived in London in the early 1960s and again in the 1980s, when she moved between London and Manchester.
Shortly before her death, Nico stopped using heroin and began methadone replacement therapy as well as a regimen of bicycle exercise and healthy eating.
Nico was certainly capable of very casual racism about Alan [Wise], who was Jewish, but that was a way of having a go at Al.
On 17 July 1988, during a holiday with Ari on the Spanish island of Ibiza, Nico hit her head when she fell off her bicycle.
Nico was misdiagnosed as suffering from heat exposure and was declared dead at 20:00 hrs.
Nico sat down in front of the mirror and wrapped a black scarf around her head.
Nico's cremated remains are buried in her mother's plot in Grunewald, a forest cemetery in Berlin.
Nico directly inspired many musicians, including Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Cure, Morrissey, Elliott Smith and Bjork.
Nico was Gothic, but she was Mary Shelley to everyone else's Hammer Horror.
Several biographical works on Nico have appeared, both in print and film.
Several concerts to honour Nico's career were organized over the years with multiple singers to revisit her repertoire.
In 2005, alternative rock band Anberlin released their second studio album, Never Take Friendship Personal, which includes the song "Dance, Dance Christa Paffgen," inspired by Nico, whose given name was Christa Paffgen.
The song "Last Ride" on Beach House's 2018 album 7 "was inspired by" Nico, according to lead singer Victoria Legrand.