One of the most enduring (and interesting) of all musical artists over the past six decades – Marianne Faithfull began her singing career in 1964 and, at 70 years of age, is still performing. Her best song, IMHO, is her 1979 cover of The Ballad of Lucy Jordan – though Broken English must follow closely behind…
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- Born in 1946, in Hampstead, London, Marianne Faithfull began singing in local coffeehouses when just a teenager.
- In early 1964, Marianne attended a Rolling Stones party where she was discovered by Andrew Loog Oldham, then manager of the Rolling Stones.
- Her first single, As Tears Go By, written by Oldham, Jagger and Richards, was released in 1964 and became her first hit, peaking at #9 in the UK and #2 in the US. The Rolling Stones later had a hit with the same song.
- Marianne’s debut album Marianne Faithfull (1965) (released simultaneously with her album Come My Way) was a success also, peaking at #15 in the UK and #12 in the US.
- From 1966 to 1970, Marianne was involved in a romantic relationship with Mick Jagger. Mick later said that many of his songs of that era were somehow inspired by Marianne. Sympathy for the Devil, was partially inspired by The Master and Margarita, written by Mikhail Bulgakov, a book to which Marianne introduced Mick. You Can’t Always Get What You Want, was apparently about Marianne and Wild Horses and I Got the Blues, inspired by her. Marianne co-wrote Sister Morphine.
- Graham Nash said his song Carrie Anne, performed by the Hollies, is about Marianne.
- Marianne’s popularity was further enhanced by various film roles including, I’ll Never Forget What’s’isname (1967), The Girl on a Motorcycle (1968), and Hamlet (1969). In all Marianne has appeared in 24 movies or television series and 11 stage shows.
- By the early 70s, however, Marianne was struggling with heroin addiction, alcoholism, and anorexia. For two years she lived on the streets of Soho. It is said that her drug addiction affected her voice giving that croaky feel to her lower register.
- In 1979, Marianne made a musical comeback with her critically acclaimed album Broken English which included the fabulous Ballad of Lucy Jordan.
- Broken English earned Faithfull a nomination for Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. A series of albums followed. In all, Marianne has released 21 albums – the latest in 2014 and a live album in 2016.
- In 2009, Marianne received a World Lifetime Achievement Award at the Women’s World Awards and was also awarded the Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
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- The Ballad of Lucy Jordan was written in 1974 by American poet and songwriter Shel Silverstein who also wrote A Boy Named Sue (Johnny Cash), The Unicorn (The Irish Rovers), The Cover of the Rolling Stone and Sylvia’s Mother (Dr Hook).
- The Ballad of Lucy Jordan was first recorded in 1974 by Dr Hook & the Medicine Show. They spelled it “Jordon”. This version failed to chart anywhere.
- In 1979, the song was recorded by the Marianne Faithfull and, although not a huge hit – it peaked at #48 in the UK and failed to make the US charts – it continues to be immensely popular on classic hits stations around the world today.
- Marianne’s version is featured on the movie soundtracks to Montenegro, Tarnation and Thelma & Louise.
- The song describes the disillusionment and mental deterioration of a suburban housewife.
- Other artists to cover the song include: Belinda Carlisle, Bobby Bare and Lucinda Williams.
- The Ballad of Lucy Jordan lyrics.
the ballad of lucy jordan – marianne faithfull – 1979 – video
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