Marianne Faithfull

Marianne Faithfull
Marianne Faithfull, Women's World Awards 2009 b.jpg
Faithfull at the Women's World Award in Vienna, March 2009
Marianne Evelyn Gabriel Faithfull

(1946-12-29) 29 December 1946 (age 72)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actress
Years active1964–present
  • John Dunbar (m. 1965–1966)
  • Ben Brierly (m. 1979–1986)
  • Giorgio Della Terza (m. 1988–1991)
Partner(s)Mick Jagger (1966–1970)
Musical career
Associated acts

Marianne Evelyn Gabriel Faithfull (born 29 December 1946) is an English singer, songwriter, and actress. She achieved popularity in the 1960s with the release of her hit single "As Tears Go By" and became one of the lead female artists during the British Invasion in the United States.

Born in Hampstead, London, Faithfull began her career in 1964 after attending a Rolling Stones party, where she was discovered by Andrew Loog Oldham. After the release of her hit single "As Tears Go By", she became an international star. Her debut album Marianne Faithfull (1965) (released simultaneously with her album Come My Way) was a commercial success followed by a number of albums on Decca Records. From 1966 to 1970, she had a highly publicised romantic relationship with Mick Jagger. Her popularity was further enhanced by her film roles, such as I'll Never Forget What's'isname (1967), The Girl on a Motorcycle (1968), and Hamlet (1969). However, her popularity was overshadowed by personal problems in the 1970s. During that time she was anorexic, homeless, and a heroin addict.

Noted for her distinctive voice, Faithfull's previously melodic and higher registered vocals (which were prevalent throughout her career in the 1960s) were affected by severe laryngitis, coupled with persistent drug abuse during the 1970s, permanently altering her voice, leaving it raspy, cracked and lower in pitch. This new sound was praised as "whisky soaked" by some critics for helping capture the raw emotions expressed in her music.[1]

After a long commercial absence, Faithfull made a comeback with the 1979 release of her critically acclaimed album Broken English. The album was a commercial success and marked a resurgence of her musical career. Broken English earned Faithfull a nomination for Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance and is often regarded as her "definitive recording." She followed with a series of albums, including Dangerous Acquaintances (1981), A Child's Adventure (1983), and Strange Weather (1987). Faithfull also wrote three books about her life: Faithfull: An Autobiography (1994), Memories, Dreams & Reflections (2007), and Marianne Faithfull: A Life on Record (2014).

Faithfull is listed on VH1's "100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll" list. She received the World Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2009 Women's World Awards and was made a Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the government of France.

Early life and links to nobility

Faithfull was born in Hampstead, London. Her half-brother is artist Simon Faithfull. Her father, Major Robert Glynn Faithfull, was a British intelligence officer and professor of Italian Literature at Bedford College of London University. Robert Glynn Faithfull's family lived in Ormskirk, Lancashire, while he completed a doctorate at Liverpool University.[2]

Faithfull's mother, Eva, was the daughter of an Austro-Hungarian nobleman, Artur Wolfgang, Ritter von Sacher-Masoch (1875–1953). Eva chose to style herself as Eva von Sacher-Masoch, Baroness Erisso.[3]

Faithfull's mother had been born in Budapest and moved to Vienna in 1918. The family of Sacher-Masoch had secretly opposed the Nazi regime in Vienna. Faithfull's father's intelligence work for the British Army brought him into contact with the family, and he thus met Eva, his future wife.[4] Faithfull's maternal grandfather had aristocratic roots in the Habsburg Dynasty, while Faithfull's maternal grandmother was Jewish.[5] Eva had been a ballerina for the Max Reinhardt Company during her early years, and danced in productions of works by the German theatrical duo Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill.[6]

Faithfull's maternal great great uncle was Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, whose erotic novel, Venus in Furs, spawned the word "masochism."[7] In regard to her roots in the Austrian nobility, Faithfull discovered on the British television series Who Do You Think You Are? that the title was Ritter von Sacher-Masoch, the relative corresponding English title being that of Baronet, an inherited knighthood.[8]

She spent some of her early life at the commune at Braziers Park, Oxfordshire, formed by Dr John Norman Glaister, where her father also lived and participated. Her parents divorced when she was six years old,[2] after which she moved with her mother to Milman Road in Reading. Her primary school was in Brixton. Living in reduced circumstances, Faithfull's girlhood was marred by bouts of tuberculosis. She was a charitably subsidized (bursared) pupil at St Joseph's Roman Catholic Convent School, Reading, where she was, for a time, a weekly boarder.[9] While at St Joseph's, she was a member of the Progress Theatre's student group.[citation needed]

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