Chelsea Girls (song)

"Chelsea Girls" is the title track of Nico's 1967 debut album, Chelsea Girl. The song was written by Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison of the Velvet Underground,[2] who Nico had collaborated with for their debut album the previous year.

"Chelsea Girls"
Song by Nico
from the album Chelsea Girl
ReleasedOctober 1967
RecordedApril 4, 1967, Mayfair Recording Studios,[1] Manhattan;
May 1967, flute and strings overdubs
LabelVerve Records
Songwriter(s)Lou Reed, Sterling Morrison
Producer(s)Tom Wilson

The title of the song and the album itself is a reference to the 1966 film of the same name by Andy Warhol, which Nico starred in herself. The film was an experimental reality movie that focused on the various residents of the Hotel Chelsea during Warhol's Factory days. Many of them were Bohemian artists, drop outs, and drug addicts, which is also described in the lyrics of the song, and also referred to are turning tricks, heroin, S&M, amphetamine and silver foil.

Running at just under seven and a half minutes long, "Chelsea Girls" is similar in style to a ballad, telling the stories of various residents at the hotel. It features guitar work from both Reed and Morrison, who wrote the song together, as well as a flute and string section, both of which are prominent throughout the song.

Nico stated in interviews that she "hated" the flute, but had no say in the matter because it was in the hands of Tom Wilson, who produced the album.[3]

Cover versionsEdit

Singer-songwriter Elliott Smith played the song at least once during his live performances.[4]

Japanese actress/singer Miki Nakatani covered the song as the B-side of her 2001 single "Air Pocket", produced by Ryuichi Sakamoto.[5]

The song was also covered by Stereo Total and included on their 2005 album Do the Bambi.


  1. ^ Discogs - Mayfair Recording Studios (Manhattan) profile and discography
  2. ^ "Chelsea Girls" at AllMusic.
  3. ^ Nico quoted in Dave Thompson's liner notes for the 2002 Deluxe re-issue of The Velvet Underground & Nico, which includes all five Velvet collaborations for Chelsea Girl.
  4. ^ 1999-10-14: Satyricon, Portland, OR, USA.
  5. ^ Nakatani, Miki. "Miki Nakatani - 中谷美紀オフィシャルサイト". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2019-01-08.