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Music / Marianne Faithfull

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Marianne Evelyn Gabriel Faithfull (born 29 December 1946) is a British singer who began her career in the Sixties. A former convent schoolgirl, she was discovered by manager Andrew Loog Oldham. Oldham gave her a song he'd co-written with the guitarist and singer for a band he was managing. That song, "As Tears Go By," made her a star at the age of 17 and well became her Signature Song over the years. She made the transition from singing to acting, co-starring with Alain Delon in the movie Girl on a Motorcycle. By the late 1960's, her life and career had unraveled from drug abuse. She attempted suicide and lost custody of her young son.

For much of the 1970's, she kept a low profile, re-emerging in 1979 with the album Broken English. The album drew from punk, reggae, and synth-rock, but the most striking change was Faithfull's voice, now deeper with a distinctive smoker's rasp. She reinvented herself yet again as a chanteuse with Strange Weather, an album of torch songs that included a new version of "As Tears Go By".

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In the 1990's, Faithfull teamed up with Angelo Badalamenti for A Secret Life and recorded an English-language version of The Seven Deadly Sins as well as several other Brecht / Weill songs. She continues her career as a singer/songwriter and interpreter well into the 21st century.


Tropes associated with Marianne Faithfull and her music include:

  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Marianne Faithfull is in fact her real name. She has also inherited her mother's baronial title, becoming Baroness von Sacher-Masoch (though she doesn't use it).
  • Balladof X: "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan" from Broken English.
  • Broken Bird: By the end of the 1960's due to her drug abuse. She got better.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: "Why'd Ya Do It?"
  • Cool Old Lady: She remains cutting edge well into her sixties. Her recent career has included collaborations with Metallica, Beck, PJ Harvey, and Nick Cave.
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  • Cover Album: She's done two: Strange Weather and Easy Come Easy Go.
  • Determinator: Faithfull by the late 1970's. After spending a decade strung out, she went into the studio to make Broken English, her acclaimed comeback. She recalled later, "I thought I was going to die, that this was my last chance to make a record. I'm going to show you bastards who I am."
  • Drugs Are Bad: "Sister Morphine." Dear God, "Sister Morphine." She also co-wrote the song.
  • Harsh Vocals: A hallmark of her career since 1979.
  • Jazz and Blues: From the late 1970's and 1980's on she reinvented herself as a crooner in this genre. Seeing that she lived through quite some troubles in her own life it fit the style perfectly.
  • Questioning Title?: "Why D'Ya Do It?"
  • Precision F-Strike: "Why D'Ya Do It?" from Broken English.
  • Rearrange the Song: Her 1964 version of "As Tears Go By" is pristine folk-rock. Her 1987 version of the song is a world-weary ballad.
  • Western Terrorists: The song "Broken English" was inspired by Germany's Baader-Meinhof gang.
  • Woman Scorned: "Why D'Ya Do It?"

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