Marianne Faithfull – in concert from Circus Krone, Munich – November 15, 2014 – Radio Bayern 2
When news came down that the legendary Marianne Faithful had tested positive for COVID-19 and had been hospitalized, in what was termed as “fair condition”, that old and by now familiar dread that another tribute and another remembrance would be making their presences known came accompanied by the all-too routine sick feeling that life is getting a lot shorter than we first thought.
But – the dreads and the fears came to naught as Marianne Faithfull was released from the hospital the day before yesterday, having beaten the odds and given a clean bill of health in the process.
In the midst of all the grief and sadness and anger and bewilderment, some good news – something to celebrate – something to restore faith. We got our legend back.
Having been a fan since “As Tears Go By” (but really a fan when she released Summer Nights), the career of Marianne Faithfull has been the stuff to fill several dense volumes. Needless to say, hers has been a life lived.
If you’re not familiar with her, or have come to the music of Marianne Faithfull recently, here’s a snippet of her bio via her website:
Marianne Faithfull’s long and distinguished career has seen her emerge as one of the most original female singer-songwriters this country has produced; Utterly unsentimental yet somehow affectionate, Marianne possesses that rare ability to transform any lyric into something compelling and utterly personal; and not just on her own songs, for she has become a master of the art of finding herself in the words and music of others.
Marianne Faithfull’s story, has of course, been well documented, not least in her entertaining and insightful autobiography Faithfull (1994). Born in Hampstead in December 1946 Faithfull’s career as the crown princess of swinging London was launched with As Tears Go By; the first song ever written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, two folk albums two pop, and a singles collection followed whilst Marianne also embarked on a parallel career as an actress, both on film in Girl On A Motorcycle (1968) and on stage in Chekhov’s Three Sisters (1967) and Hamlet (1969) By the end of the Sixties personal problems halted Marianne’s career and her drug addiction took over.
Faithfull emerged tentatively in the mid-Seventies with a country album called Dreamin’ My Dreams (1976)Though the album attracted little attention in the UK, it was a huge hit in Ireland, where the title track spent 7 weeks at number one and led to Marianne going back on the road for the first time in a decade, but it was her furious re-surfacing on Broken English in 1979 that definitively brought her back. The virginal pop persona created around her in the Sixties was defiantly smashed: Instead with songs like The Ballad of Lucy Jordan, Guilt and Why D’ya Do It?, Marianne became a kind of oracle, and the artist people turned to, to lead them through dark times.
And those dark times are upon us once again – and once again, Marianne Faithfull is here with a lantern.
I think we’re going to make it.