In 1965 the prototypical “It Girl”, Edie Sedgwick, attached herself to Andy Warhol and, at the same time, pop-art history. She is both the beauty and the tragedy of celebrity culture. The would-be model entered Warhol’s Factory with a Harvard education and a healthy trust fund ($80k), and was immediately cast in one of the artist’s in-house epics, Vinyl. She was a contradiction, bursting with charisma and beauty, yet fragile and lost. Caught in a whirlwind of sex, drugs, and rock and roll in the decadent ’60s universe that surrounded Warhol.
Together, Edie Sedgwick and Andy Warhol made eighteen films, including the beginnings of a film with Bob Dylan and his friend Bob Neuwirth. Edie began a romantic relationship with Neuwirth, but she also had a brief flirtation with Dylan. Following her split from Warhol, she spiralled further into drug addiction, withdrawing from public life, and was hospitalized at one point. She later pulled herself back from the abyss, enjoying sobriety during her marriage to Michael Post, until she was prescribed pain medication to treat a physical illness. This opened the door to addiction once again.
On November 6, 1971, Edie Sedgwick died in her sleep at the age of 28. The following playlist, spanning half a century, offers an overview of her influence. Proving that Edie Sedgwick is still a muse, an idol, and a source of inspiration in the music world.
#1. Bob Dylan – ‘Like a Rolling Stone’
Little is known about the basis of ‘Like a Rolling Stone’. Apparently, the “Miss Lonely” character is Sedgwick, who Dylan supposedly loved, and the venomous lyrics are directed at Andy Warhol. In this case Warhol is the “diplomat” on a “chrome horse”. On his following masterwork, Blonde On Blonde, Sedgwick appears again as the subject of both ‘Just Like A Woman’ and ‘Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat’.
#2. The Velvet Underground – ‘Femme Fatale’
It comes as no surprise that Sedgwick had an effect on The Velvet Underground, once Warhol’s in-house band. This track, sung by Nico, brings the mysterious character to life. In this case, however, Warhol asked Lou Reed to compose a song especially for Edie Sedgwick.
#3. Primal Scream – ‘Velocity Girl’
Originally released as the B-side to their second single, ‘Crystal Crescent’, in 1986. This is a slice of perfect ’80s indie pop and was covered by Manic Street Preachers ten years later. At 82 seconds, it is short and sharp, and handles the subject matter perfectly.
“Here she comes again
With vodka in her veins”
#4. Dream Academy – ‘Girl In A Million (For Edie Sedgwick)’
There is no denying who Dream Academy dedicated this song to. The 1985 B-side to the group’s fourth single, ‘The Love Parade’, was not a commercial success, but it did highlight the band’s views on fame and its destructive qualities.
“She was a girl with a million friends
Poor little girl
Nobody could feel so cold and alone
Poor little rich girl”
#5. Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – ‘Little Miss S.’
Edie on Edie. This track appeared on Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars, the 1988 debut album by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians. ‘Little Miss S.’ is stark and emotional, thanks to Brickell’s dark lyrics.
“Shooting up junk in the bathroom
Makin’ it with punks on the floor”
#6. The Cult – ‘Edie (Ciao Baby)’
The second single from The Cult’s magnum opus, Sonic Temple, ‘Edie’ opened up another dimension of their music. Inspired by the Warhol scene of the mid ’60s, along with Edie Sedgwick’s final movie, Ciao Manhattan!, released posthumously in 1972.
#7. The Flaming Lips – ‘Talkin’ ’bout the Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues (Everyone Wants to Live Forever)’
A title from The Flaming Lips which—perhaps intentionally—could belong to a Bob Dylan track. Wayne Coyne subtly nails the immortality that fame brings. This is the first track from the band’s blistering 1992 album Hit To Death In The Futurehead. It’s unknown if the lyrics are about Edie specifically, or everyone of her ilk, but it’s a track which fits the framework perfectly.
“Everyone wants to live forever
Thinking that it’d be a lot better”
#8. Dean & Britta – ‘It Don’t Rain in Beverly Hills’
Taken from the third Dean & Britta album, 13 Most Beautiful…Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests. It’s a concept album, commissioned by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and The Andy Warhol Museum in Pennsylvania. The tracks are written to accompany a collection of Warhol screen tests filmed in the ’60s and ‘It Don’t Rain in Beverly Hills’ forms the perfect backdrop for Edie.
#9. The Pretty Reckless – ‘Factory Girl’
Taken from the 2010 debut by American rockers The Pretty Reckless. In some respects, the song is built on a collage of lyrics from Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground. ‘Factory Girl’ is an homage of sorts, with a pounding beat far removed from the ’60s sound.
“I’m waiting for my man on Hollywood and Vine, so fine
gettin’ done in the alley, son I’m on New York time”
#10. The Velts – ‘Edie Sedgwick’
Coming up to date with this 2018 track from The Velts’ debut album Alphabet. The psychedelic, post punk of the indie figureheads is the perfect vehicle to express the Gothic darkness of the “It” princess.