Why Marianne Faithfull matters

Publication Type:



University of Texas Press,, Volume 007, Austin, United States, p.179 pages ; (2021)

Call Number:



(OCoLC)fst00796328, (OCoLC)fst01177510, (OCoLC)fst01178528, Actresses, Actresses., Actrices, Biographies., Biography., bisacsh, Chanteuses, Compositrices, fast, MUSIC / History & Criticism., Women composers, Women composers., Women singers, Women singers.


Includes bibliographical references.Introduction: Women are born cultural archaeologists -- I. The It Girl of the swinging sixties -- Parents -- The British Invasion -- Pop stardom -- Breasts -- Wild horses couldn't drag me away -- It's all over now, Baby Blue -- II. Falling from grace -- Trauma is a gateway drug -- A punk comeback -- III. The chanteuse -- Strange weather -- The 90s: a good decade for women in rock -- Before the poison -- In my own particular way -- Capricorn -- Love in the time of coronavirus -- Epilogue: Memory, "show me the dick"."Marianne Faithfull has been an actress and model as well as a musician who has released more than a dozen albums over five decades. She first entered the public sphere in 1964 with the song "As Tears Go By," which also was recorded by the Rolling Stones, and she is still best known to some people as Mick Jagger's girlfriend of the late 60s. As her autobiographies attest, Faithfull was involved with the Stones for years -- as both "muse" and co-writer of songs like "Sister Morphine" -- and lived a rock-n-roll life for a long time. Her punk-influenced album of 1979, Broken English, was widely praised but by the late 1980s she had re-invented herself as a chanteuse. She managed to kick her heroin addiction by the mid 80s and has continued to make music and act in films, and has been the subject of numerous tributes and recipient of several lifetime achievement awards. Tanya Pearson's manuscript looks at Faithfull's life and art, which resonates with her on multiple levels: "as an avid fan, a recovered addict, a feminist, a musician, a gay, perpetually single woman, and a professional historian." The narrative is mostly chronological, divided into three parts, with short sketches devoted to specific experiences or songs. Part one covers Faithfull's rise to It Girl of the Swinging 60s, the infamous drug bust at Keith Richards's house, her breakup with Mick Jagger and subsequent fall after the inevitable slut-shaming. Part two focuses on the depths of her heroin addiction, and eventual resurrection with Broken English. Part three brings us up to the present, with MF as survivor and icon, sober and sui generis. For the author, this is Faithfull's most interesting period and the era that produced her greatest work. Throughout the book, Pearson inserts herself as a sort of narrator, one who has walked some similar roads and been inspired by MF even when their literal circumstances were very different. She's not so much equating herself and her subject, but using her own experience as a way to understand Faithfull's life and work. So, for instance, when discussing Faithfull's first record after getting sober, Pearson talks about how difficult it is to plumb one's emotional depths in the early stages of recovery, which made it impossible for Pearson herself to write songs. This leads into the story of Faithfull's Strange Weather, which is composed of covers and songs written for her by other people. The book concludes with a discography and list of films"--