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Rich Kid Blues

Marianne Faithfull

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By the early ‘70s, Marianne Faithfull was viewed as a casualty of the previous decade. Her song “Sister Morphine” was both a warning against drugs and an admission of guilt. The woman who recorded these singer-songwriter odes was a woman badly scarred and one clearly searching for her voice. She would find a tough survivor’s edge by 1979’s Broken English, but here she settles into the haunting mysteries of Bob Dylan (“It Takes A Lot to Laugh It Takes a Train To Cry,” “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue,” “Visions of Johanna”), the eerie organ-led vibe of Cat Stevens’ “Sad Lisa” and the disillusion that shadows Sandy Denny’s “Crazy Lady Blues,” Tim Hardin’s “Southern Butterfly” and Phil Ochs’ “Chords of Fame.” It doesn’t seem a coincidence that Denny, Hardin and Ochs would all be dead by the end of 1980. Faithfull has always been drawn to the dark side and these performances sport more than their share of harrowing moments. The death march of “Long Black Veil” is only too well suited to Faithfull’s perpetual gloom.


Born: December 29, 1946 in Hampstead, London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Few stars of the '60s reinvented themselves as successfully as Marianne Faithfull. Coaxed into a singing career by Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham in 1964, she had a big hit in both Britain and the U.S. with her debut single, the Jagger/Richards composition "As Tears Go By" (which prefaced the Stones' own version by a full year). Considerably more successful in her native land than the States, she had a series of hits in the mid-'60s that set her high, fragile voice against delicate orchestral...
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