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Faithfull Paperback – 29 Jun 1995
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Marianne does not come out well from this book however. i can't remember a single part of her life story that shows much more than a driving hedonism, a greedy profligency, a bulemic irresponsible shagfest and the ghastly personal fall out it all produces. It's all objectively interesting as a social history but after i while i just felt a bit sickened by the hysterical waste of it all.
You wonder where these people were before rock and narcotics came along. There have always been people with too much money, too much time and too much of a restless spirit. They would have wormed themselves into high politics or the Royal Court I suppose. You don't have to like them. At best just be amused by the chaos they create for themselves and each other as they crash hungrily through the world.
Anyway, soon all that sound and fury will be gone, layered over by time, the book wll be just a musty yellow collection of words on a squeaky wooden shelf. All that siren loveliness, all that running around will be just a tale, more forgotten than remembered.
P.S. I feel sorry for the wretchedness Marianne must have been through in her incredible life, but i can't help feeling much of it was self induced. Some people just can't break the cycle, can't find the father.
Faithfull was beautiful, with sad blue eyes, long flowing blonde hair and pouting lips, she was the 1960's good girl of pop with enviable chart success. However, once she got in with those rowdy boys from The Rolling Stones, Faithfull's life, and image, would change forever.
A life fuelled by sex, drugs and money followed. A drug bust where Faithfull was exposed as only wearing a fur rug is possibly the most famous news story about her... she denies the Mars Bar rumour...
Faithfull opens discusses all of her marriages, her drug abuse, her anorexia, her miscarriage, her strained relationship with her mother and when the courts removed her son from her care because she was deemed an unfit mother. But what is certainly the most revealing, and absorbing, portion of the book is where she describes her well publicised relationship with Rolling Stone frontman Mick Jagger. Vanity, love triangles, wealth, bisexuality, threesomes, glamour and drug addiction - good old fashioned rock 'n' roll!
She tells the story beautifully and is politely honest about everything, rarely apologising for her behaviour. She simply states, when she reveals that she slept with 3 out of the 4 members of the Rolling Stones, that "it would have been rude not to..."
You can't help but come away from reading this book thinking 'Is there anything that woman didn't do?'.
Her recollections of touring with the popular bands of the time are fascinating, as is the way she entered the Rolling Stones circle. Her first meeting with Bob Dylan is wonderfully juxtaposed with a much later meeting in the 1980s when she explained every song on Broken English to an admiring Dylan. The glimpses into the interpersonal relations of the Stones are enlightening and poignant, specially the way she describes the decline of the ill-fated Brian Jones.
She talks matter-of-factly about her relationship with Mick Jagger and the notoriety she gained with various drug busts. Faithfull doesn't spare the reader any of the detail of her long relationship with a breathtaking variety of drugs, but the most arresting parts are when she relates particular events and circumstances to specific compositions by Jagger and herself.
She discusses all the anarchy and hedonism of the times with a detached air, observing that her generation wanted to see change everywhere but none of them could quite figure it out and it all ended up as wretched excess. The movie Performance and her song Sister Morphine are treated in detail. The saddest part of her life was when she spent about 2 years sitting on a wall in Soho, completely spaced out, but noting how kindly people treated her.
The making of her country album Faithless, a huge hit in Ireland, is described with flair, as well as her big comeback with Broken English in 1979. I really enjoyed her encounters with various musicians like the tragic Tim Hardin who co-wrote the song Brain Drain on Broken English with Ben Brierly. There's even an interesting snippet about Cristina Monet, wife of ZE Records founder Michael Zilkha. Why'd Ya Do It, one of the most controversial songs on the Broken English album, was written by poet Heathcote Williams. Marianne had to beg him for hours to allow her to record it, as he wanted Tina Turner to cover it!
There's no bitterness in any of Faithfull's writing; rather lots of humor and witty observations. She is full of praise for musicians like Barry Reynolds and Van Morrison with whom she has worked. As a great fan of hers and The Stones, I am truly relieved that there were no life threatening sexually transmitted diseases in the 1960s & 1970s because then a whole generation of musicians would have been lost, what with all the intercourse between everybody.
This book confirms why Faithfull is a true survivor and has developed into an original artist with growing stature. The scandal is well balanced by observations on the songs, the times, the making of the albums and the films. There are 45 black and white photographs and a thorough index. I also recommend Mark Hodkinson's biography As Tears Go By, an informative read on her life and career up to 1991.
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