Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Marianne Faithfull: Dreaming My Dreams, Part II

"I left everything for Mick." So notes Marianne Faithfull of ending things with husband John Dunbar and moving on to the next phase. A trumped up drug bust in 1967 made her notorious in the hands of the tabloid press. How could the pop princess have fallen so low as to hang out with "ponce yobs" like the Rolling Stones?

For just a few years, Marianne and Mick were one of the great couples of the greater music scene. Both worked on songs and also tried movies -- she did The Girl on a Motorcycle (1968) and he did Performance (1968) and Ned Kelly (1970). Marianne also did theatrical work: Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters and Shakespeare's Hamlet, playing Ophelia in the latter. By then, heroin had "helped me become a blank" -- and helped make her Ophelia very convincing, apparently. One of the creative high points of this period was co-composing "Sister Morphine" with Jagger, something she found "particularly lovely."

Faithfull muddled through heroin years and solo recording in the 1970s on into the 1980s. Like Keith Richards, she was resilient and lucky, considering the other casualties among the ranks of their peers. The music played on. It's no coincidence when Richards notes, "She's got some guts, that one."  Though vilified in England, Marianne's music and persona were adopted in Ireland. Her version of "Dreamin' My Dreams" was a hit there, its meaning doubled by the ground situation in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles.

An artistic and critical breakthrough came in 1979 with her album Broken English. One musical peer notes that Marianne Faithfull is a "great lyricist because she reads a lot." She also choose cover songs with care and precision.

By the mid-1980s, Faithfull realized that she wanted to live into the future, and she has, continuing to record and perform music right up to the 2012 present. She also happens to be a good writer and actor.

Today's Rune: Flow.

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