“The Velvet Underground and Nico: A Symphony of Sound” (1966) dir. Andy Warhol / Paul Morrissey

Video

Here is some classic footage of the Velvet Underground jamming out circa 1966, courtesy of Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey. Considering that very little footage exists of this seminal band … and the fact that both Warhol and Morrissey thought enough to film this … makes this essential viewing. Put your shades on and groove, baby!

“Turbobitch” – The 69 Eyes

Video

Yes, there are bands that aspire to sound like a cross between Motorhead and the Stooges … because that’s what comes naturally to them. The 69 Eyes are from Finland and this song is from 1997. How this awesome band escaped my notice is beyond me.

From the album “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams” (named … I think … after an ultra-cool Nico song from 1967).

The Warhol Party Scene from “The Doors” (1991) dir. Oliver Stone

Drug freakout scenes are one of my favorite cliches in movies.  My all-time favorite drug freakout scene (with the exception of Helen Hunt trying to fly in the 1982 CBS TV-movie “Desperate Lives”) is this scene from Oliver Stone’s “The Doors.”  With the Velvet Underground’s “Venus in Furs” and “Heroin” playing in the background, Val Kilmer’s Jim Morrison takes a walk on the wild side with all kinds of Andy Warhol characters from Tom Baker (played by Michael Madsen), Warhol (played by Crispin Glover), Nico (played by Christina Fulton), and some unnamed Warhol assistant (played by Oscar winning 70s singer/songwriter Paul Williams).  Seeing this on home video doesn’t compare to seeing this film on a huge screen with booming stereo sound back in the day.  The wobbly, boat-in-a-tsunami camera movements are much more intense and caused me to have a major headache when I saw this in a theater.

“I’m Not Sayin'” – Nico / Gordon Lightfoot

Video

“I’m Not Sayin'” was an early pre-Velvet Underground single cut by Nico for Andrew Loog Oldham’s Immediate Records in Britain around 1965 or so. It’s pretty boss mid-1960s folk pop with some great acoustic strumming by none other than Jimmy Page.

Nico’s version has a certain hip cachet these days, but not many people realize this is actually a cover of a Gordon Lightfoot song that was a hit in Canada the same year. The Lightfoot version is also highly recommended and included here as well.

“The Fairest of the Seasons” – Nico

Video

The opening track of Nico’s “Chelsea Girl” album from 1967, written by Jackson Browne. It also underscored the moving finale of Wes Anderson’s “The Royal Tenenbaums,” specifically the final scene between Ben Stiller’s and Gene Hackman’s characters, a scene that always gets me.