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You Are Beautiful and You Are Alone

Jennifer Otter Bickerdike

A redemptive, myth-shattering biography of one of the twentieth century’s most underestimated creative and artistic forces.

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Format
Ebook
ISBN
9780571350032
Date Published
13.07.2021
Delivery
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Summary

A ROUGH TRADE, MOJO, UNCUT BOOK OF THE YEAR

A redemptive, myth-shattering biography of one of the twentieth century’s most underestimated creative and artistic forces.

‘Here is the Odyssey of Nico . . . a scholarly and detailed chronicle of this brilliant artist, who was spurned and tortured for her trouble.’
IGGY POP

‘At last, a comprehensive and compelling book about Nico.’
VIV ALBERTINE

‘[A] fantastic book.’
COSEY FANNI TUTTI

‘A gripping portrait.’ THE TIMES
‘Absorbs from start to finish.’ OBSERVER
‘[This] book gets closer to understanding Nico than most.’ GUARDIAN
‘Entertainingly written and insightful.’ INDEPENDENT
‘Detailed and sympathetic.’ EVENING STANDARD
‘Superbly researched.UNCUT
‘Compassionate.’ MOJO
‘The best music book you will read this year.’ LOUDER THAN WAR

The real story of Nico is one of determination, self-destruction and belief in one’s artistic vision, at any cost.

Nico was an ever-evolving myth, an enigma that escaped definition.

Born Christa Päffgen, Nico grew up in war-torn Berlin before being scouted by a fashion photographer in her early teens. At age twenty-seven, she became Andy Warhol’s newest Superstar, securing the position of chanteuse for the Velvet Underground. Though she is primarily remembered for contributions to their seminal debut album and her relationships with Brian Jones, Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison – her own artistry and influence have often been overlooked.

Nico spent most of her career as a solo artist on the road, enduring empty concert halls, abusive fans and the perilous reality of being a drug addict. Yet beneath the superficial denigrations and one-dimensional myths was a complicated visionary determined to make art that was truly her own.

In You Are Beautiful and You Are Alone, defying the sexist casting of her life as the tragedy of a beautiful woman losing her looks, youth and fame, Jennifer Otter Bickerdike cements Nico’s legacy as one of the most vital artists of her time, inspiring a generation of luminaries including Björk, Morrissey and Iggy Pop.

Containing over a hundred new interviews and rare archival material, this is an empowering reappraisal of an underappreciated icon.

‘The book that Nico’s real devotees have been waiting for, and this unique lady has long deserved, deserves to sit with the great biographies.’
RECORD COLLECTOR (*****)

‘Scrapes away decades of “misogyny and stereotyping” to reveal something of the woman behind the cheekbones . . . Bickerdike battles hard to bring light to the darker corners of Nico’s story; she busts myths, tracks down documents and tries to explain the singer’s motivations.’
UNCUT

‘Riveting.’ BARNEY HOSKYNS
‘Extraordinary.’ GILLIAN McCAIN
‘Vivid, moving, unsettling.’ LUCY O’BRIEN
‘What a treasure this book is.’ DANNY FIELDS

Critic Reviews

Here is the Odyssey of Nico . . . a scholarly and detailed chronicle of this brilliant artist, who was spurned and tortured for her trouble.

Iggy Pop
Critic Reviews

At last, a comprehensive and compelling book about Nico. Her music, songwriting and strength of character were huge influences on the whole punk and post-punk movement.

Viv Albertine
Critic Reviews

A gripping portrait of one of the most fascinating figures in late 20th-century music.

Will Hodgkinson, The Times
Critic Reviews

Makes clear what a driven, creative and fearlessly original artist [Nico] was . . . You Are Beautiful and You Are Alone is an entertainingly written and insightful biography, which portrays Nico as a flawed but deeply compelling individual.

Kevin E G Perry, Independent
Critic Reviews

Bickerdike digs deep into the life of one of the strangest and most unlikely singer-songwriters of our time . . . absorbs from start to finish.

Ian Thomson, Observer
Critic Reviews

Detailed and comprehensive in its research . . . Much of Nico’s allure as a performer and a personality rests on a perceived mysteriousness that was partly influenced by her coolly monosyllabic manner, but also by the gaps in her story. Otter Bickerdike painstakingly fills in these gaps, piecing together Nico’s family history, her early years bearing witness to atrocities in Nazi Germany and her eagerness to leave for a better life . . . the book gets closer to understanding Nico than most.

Fiona Sturges, Guardian
Jennifer OtterBickerdike

Dr. Jennifer Otter Bickerdike is a cultural historian and author, working across music heritage and fandom in broadcast and academia. She has appeared on BBC Radio 6, BBC 4, Channel 4 and ITV, and has written for the Guardian. She is the author of several books regarding fan culture. Her previous book was the bestselling Why Vinyl Matters. Originally from…

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Jennifer OtterBickerdike