Sad songs no 8. Eulogy to Lenny Bruce – Nico

NicoChelseaGirlI had to have Nico somewhere on this list, as in many ways she’s my ultimate ‘sad’ artist, but so many of her lyrics are completely abstract that they generate a mood of general gloom and misery rather than actual sadness. This track from her first album Chelsea Girls is an exception, possibly because it was written by Tim Hardin (see no 9) about the death of the great comedian Lenny Bruce in 1966. It’s a great reaction to bereavement: ‘I’ve lost a friend and I don’t know why/But never again will we get together to die’. Hardin and Bruce must have had some toxic times together, and both of them fell victim to the needle. As, indeed, did Nico, more or less. ‘Why after every last shot was there always another?’ she sings, and she might have sung it to herself in later years when she was living from one fix to the next. It’s a sad song in its own right, but when you think of the wasted talent of the three protagonists it’s particularly upsetting.

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