Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

12. NicoThe Marble Index

The Marble Index is a record that sounds like no other in the history of rock. It has a dark, European, stoic atmosphere with an intensity with Nico’s singing and songwriting. You have to remember that with the Velvet Underground, she had to rely on Lou Reed writing songs for her. She wasn’t exactly Lou Reed or John Cale either. She wrote a song with Jim Morrison, whom she described as her soul brother, and he said she should write songs and lyrics. Nico was a very cultured lady, she worked and hung out with the Stones, she was older and had been around. In fact, I think The Marble Index is a line from a Wordsworth poem. John Cale said that nobody was quoting Wordsworth in 1968.

It’s one of the first art rock albums and I think that there’s an intensity of vision and focus on that record, unlike any other record I’ve heard. I mean these are the first songs that she wrote! Where did these come from? It’s so otherworldly. This album was a huge influence when we were making Screamadelica, I listened to The Marble Index all the time.

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: Lisa Gerrard, Daniel Patrick Quinn, Adrian Flanagan
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