Nico – The End

• “The End” set to a brilliantly effective video. Thanks to admcanaris.

9.5 “All-time classic Avant-Garde from Germany”

Closing track on her LP “The End” (Island Records ILPS-9311) released in 1974.

This album marked the final chapter in her brilliant neo-classical trilogy that began in 1969 with “The Marble Index” and continued in 1970 with “Desertshore”; in the 4 years since, Nico had lost a good supportive friend, Jim Morrison, and perhaps this informs “The End”. The album stars: Nico (lead vocals, harmonium); John Cale (bass guitar, xylophone, acoustic guitar, synthesizers, organ, marimba, triangles, cabaça, boobams, glockenspiel, percussion, piano, electric piano); Brian Eno (synthesizers); Vicki Wood (backing vocals) and Annagh Wood (backing vocals).

Nico pens 6 of the 8, but it’s the two cover versions which gathered most comment and attention in the aftermath. “The End” is as sensational a cover-version as you could ever wish to hear; world-weary, chilling to the core, chock-full of menace, and thoroughly desolate. The musical accompaniment is simply magnificent in every way, with terrifying, gripping textures and distant wails which seem to emanate from beyond the grave. This is pure theatre – yet somehow you get the feeling that it’s based in some sort of screwed-up reality.

You can read my full review for this and all of my Top 30 albums of 1974 here.

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