The band name came from a book about S&M while Nico, the possibly German, possibly Hungarian model turned actress turned singer, came courtesy of manager Andy Warhol. If all that weren’t enough to make them the poster children of the avant-garde, there were also the songs. Lou Reed infused “Heroin” and “Venus in Furs” with lower east side realism and boho style. John Cale, an imposing Welshman tutored by ambient composer John Cage, introduced the rock world to feedback through his shrieking viola while Nico’s vocals on “Femme Fatalle” and “I’ll Be Your Mirror” were beamed in from an icy cabaret. It was hipness on vinyl, but with an abiding narcotic beauty.
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