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Classic Years

17 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 15, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

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As the golden-haired, frog-throated chanteuse of the Velvet Underground, the German born Nico cast a decadent spell. Her cool, detached performances, in direct opposition with the feel-good hippie vibe of the 1960s, influenced the punk scene of the 1970s. This collection serves as an excellent sampler of Nico's work, beginning with her first single for Rolling Stones' manager Andrew Loog Oldham's then-new Immediate label (a 1965 cover of Gordon Lightfoot's "I'm Not Sayin'") and spanning her Velvet Underground contributions and her stunning first four solo albums. Her ethereal cover of the Doors' "The End" matched with material by producer John Cale, Lou Reed, and Jackson Browne, as well as her own doomy compositions, illuminate her unusual sense of style. The silent hero here, however, is Cale, who served as the perfect collaborator, elevating Nico's worldview with his often gorgeous, always sympathetic musical backing. --Rob O'Connor


1. I'm Not Saying
2. The Last Mile
3. I'll Be Your Mirror
4. Femme Fatale
5. All Tomorrow's Parties (From: 'The Velvet Underground & Nico')
6. The Fairest Of The Seasons
7. These Days
8. Little Sister
9. Chelsea Girls (From 'Nico: Chelsea Girl')
10. No One Is There
11. Ari's Song
12. Frozen Warnings
13. Niebelungen (From: 'The Marble Index')
14. Janitor Of Lunacy
15. Abschied
16. Afraid (From: 'Desertshore')
17. Secret Side
18. You Forgot To Answer
19. The End (From: 'The End')

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 15, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Polydor / Umgd
  • ASIN: B00000BIBV
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,797 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Caratzas on December 8, 1998
Format: Audio CD
Here--finally--is a terrific and long-overdue collection from one of the great icons and musical innovators: Nico. Because long before there was Madonna, Natalie Merchant, Debbie Harry and even Yoko Ono, there was Nico. Her icy, resonant vocals are still, for me, the best thing about 1967's groundbreaking album, The Velvet Underground & Nico. Gifted with a chilling vibrato, Nico delivers brilliant interpretations of some of Lou Reed's finest lyrics: "I'll be your mirror, reflect what you are, in case you don't know, I'll...." When Nico sings that second "I'll", my heart breaks, every time. Similarly, on her first single, a cover of Gordon Lightfoot's "I'm Not Saying" (produced by then-Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham), Nico sings: "I'm not saying I'll be true, but I'll try". And again, it's that one last word, "try", that puts me in touch with an overwhelming sense of sadness.
The incredible longing in Nico's singing apparently reflects a void that she could never fill. Her strange life of opportunities seized and lost (rehashed in the oddly-worded liner notes), comes through loud and clear in the early music she sang and, later, the music she wrote. Early pop stylings give way to songs like the haunting "Chelsea Girls"--a collaboration with Velvets alumni Reed and John Cale. Cale would go on to produce many of Nico's subsequent recordings, and working with him, and later with Roxy Music's Brian Eno and Phil Manzanera, Nico originated and crafted an idiosyncratic brand of diva music, which often took its form in deconstructed tone poems of regret and longing. Could anyone, other than Nico, have made a song entitled "Janitor of Lunacy" so beautiful in its yearning?
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Miguel on December 10, 1999
Format: Audio CD
"An IBM computer doing an impression of Greta Garbo," this is how Andy Warhol once described the voice of his then protegé, Nico.
Ever since, the range of comparisons has known no end. "Who?" some younger people may ask (and I am 25!) when hearing about her for the first time. Certainly, when one mentions Lou Reed or Warhol, a face lits up with recognition and say "oh, I see." But they don't.
This compilation may well be the first to reach the mainstream in a long while, to put them in contact with one of rock and roll's most unsung heroines.
Featuring such classics as "All Tomorrow's Parties" and "I'll be your mirror" (both penned by Reed), this CD tracks the first few years of Nico's career, covering her transformation from the first of the supermodels (which she was) to the mother of goth-rock.
Either as a blond, eurodecadent ice maiden or a wild-eyed, hennaed vesper, the many faces of Nico surge through the songs here presented to show a dark chest of wonders.
And try to keep your eyes dry and your heart free of that sweet ache of longing and loss when you listen to the beautiful, a capella version of "Nibelungen".
A grand surprise.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By geneseo_rick on January 11, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This collection of Nico's work is excellent, spanning the breadth and length of her career. The collection starts with her earliest work, upbeat folk-rock songs (tracks 1 and 2), progresses through her Velvet Underground period (tracks 3 through 5), through Chelsea Girls (tracks 6 through 9), and then through her gothic phase (tracks 10 through 19). There are a few songs that should be here that aren't, such as "Das Lied Der Deutchen" (the German National Anthem), "Mutterlein", and "The Falconer." And the longer version of "All Tomorrow's Parties" in "The Velvet Underground and Nico" (5,55 minutes versus 2,52 here) is obviously better. But still, this is a great collection for Nico fans.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Morrical on October 8, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This is really one of the most AMAZING collection of songs that I've ever heard. My first introduction to Nico? Yes. I am so impressed with this music, Nico's voice, the atmosphere these records create, the song structures, the total package. This is well deserving of these 5 stars - these songs are great. Stop reading and buy this cd, you are in for a great suprise.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gloom & Beauty on March 17, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am glad That Nico finally got a "greatest collection" album. Even her earliest singles from 1965 are awesome ("I'm not saying" "Last Mile" ). I really love tyhe music that she creates. She is in a way like a poet, because her lyrics are so powerful and revealing.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a very long CD with practically no room left for any more songs (76 minutes long). All my favorite are here and only my favorite are here. It's absolutely perfect. Even the got-all-her-albums fan will probably still want this, if not for the high sound quality and great liner notes, for finally issuing the tracks from her first 7" single ("I'm not saying"/"The last mile") on CD. Those two songs are simply wonderful. I can't understand how anyone could consider them "forgettable" -- they're not. Sometimes I repeat just these two. But the whole CD is a huge delicious treat. "All tomorrow's parties" is here in the cut/edited single version, but it's so rare and still very nice, it suits this collection just fine. Several longer versions can be easily found on various editions of "Velvet Underground & Nico".

This is also a great introduction for those who don't know this artist yet. Her story is well told in the CD booklet, along with some nice pictures. It covers her best tracks throughout most of her career in chronological order, something few collections accomplish and helps a newcomer understand how she developed. I strongly recommend this CD, both for those who would like to get to know a bit of Nico and to those who already love her but haven't got this one yet.
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