On January 29, 1972 Lou Reed and John Cale, founding members of the Velvet Underground, reunited with Nico, the German actress, model and musician who sang several songs on the band’s debut album, for a special concert at le Bataclan nightclub in Paris.
In this scene Nico (in her “deep narcotic monotone voice,” as one writer aptly described it) sings one of three songs she sang on 1967’s The Velvet Underground & Nico. The song, “Femme Fatale,” was written by Reed at the request of the band’s manager, Andy Warhol. “Andy said I should write a song about Edie Sedgwick,” Reed later explained. “I said, Like what?’ and he said, ‘Oh, don’t you think she’s a femme fatale, Lou?’ So I wrote ‘Femme Fatale’ and we gave it to Nico.”
The Bataclan concert was staged four years after Cale left the Velvet Underground and almost two years after Reed left. The show was recorded for French television and has been widely bootlegged. Nico’s performance of “Femme Fatale” came midway through a 16-song set, but was placed at the end of the original 23-minute TV special. You can watch the complete special on YouTube.
Andy Warhol Quits Painting, Manages The Velvet Underground (1965)
A Symphony of Sound (1966): Velvet Underground Improvises, Warhol Films It, Until the Cops Turn Up
Nico Sings “Chelsea Girls” in the Famous Chelsea Hotel
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