Miss Marianne Faithfull:

Miss Marianne Faithfull:
(Born December 29, 1946) Songs she inspired: She Smiled Sweetly, Let's Spend The Night Together, She's Like A Rainbow, You Can't Always Get What You Want, Wild Horses, I Got The Blues, 100 Years Ago, Winter

Miss Anita Pallenberg:

Miss Anita Pallenberg:
(Born April 6, 1942) Songs she inspired: You Got The Silver, Sister Morphine (words by Marianne), Wild Horses, Coming Down Again, Angie, Beast Of Burden, All About You

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The most beautiful girl in the world

I'm really romanced by learning the backstories to songs I enjoy, especially ones where the backstory involves a female inspiration. And it goes without saying at this point that I am even more delighted when that inspiration is Marianne, Anita, Patti Boyd, or some other blonde 60's goddess with a mind of her own. I'm going to do a post on the former Mrs. Harrison and Mrs. Clapton some time soon, as I've almost finished her book, Wonderful Tonight that I got for Valentine's Day.

But this post is going to mainly be about Marianne, as God knows I have a lot to say about the Stones songs that were written in Anita's honor, and discussing them should also be delegated to its own post (they tend to be more heartbreaking). But that is not to discount Miss Marianne, who came into Mick's life when he was writing chauvenistic lyrics about Chrissie Shrimpton. It's actually quite interesting that so many of the early songs, while set against a sing-song beat, contained many scathing or horrible lines. Societal critiques like "Mother's Little Helper" don't bother me, but songs like "Backstreet Girl" are actually really sad. Let's take a look at some of the things Dr. Jagger had to say about Chrissie in the mid sixties:

"A squirming dog whose just had her day"
"You're obsolete my baby, my poor discarded baby"
"The way she powders her nose, her vanity shows and it shows, she's the sickest thing in this world. Look at that stupid girl."
"Who wants yesterday's papers? Who wants yesterday's girl?"
"You're the kind of person you meet at certain dismal, dull affairs."

Enter: Marianne Faithfull. With liquid blue eyes, perfect lips, angelic features and traffic stopping curves, not to mention class and brains, Marianne inspired words like:

"Have you seen her all in gold, like a queen in days of old?
She shoots colors all around like a sunset going down
Have you seen a lady fairer?"
Mick also wrote "Let's Spend The Night Together", "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Wild Horses" about her. YCAGWYW is his plea to her to stop taking drugs, and "Wild Horses", though I've often read it is also inspired by Keith Richards' sadness upon leaving Anita and baby Marlon to go on the road, is the result of Marianne's overdose in Australia where she and Mick were supposed to film "Ned Kelly" (Marianne was dropped from the film and was in a six day coma). I used to get bored with "Wild Horses" because it was such a "hit", but when I learned it was about Marianne and I listened to the lyrics more closely, I fell in love with it, and it can reduce me to a fit of tears even today. Mick and she were just children when they met, and the things Marianne wanted, he did buy. I'm curious as to his description of her as "graceless lady", since she seemed altogether regal and not terribly clumsy, but oh well. "I know I dreamed you a sin and a lie"... Can't we all relate to this sentiment, turning someone we love into someone different to soothe our own mind? In her autobiography, while certainly critical of some of Mick's personality, Marianne writes that above all, he was always very kind to her, so I believe him when he sings "No sweeping exits or offstage lines could make me feel bitter, or treat you unkind."

Few jobs appeal to me more than the idea of being a professional muse, and that's probably why I'm so awe-struck by these women who had such sensational musicians under their spell. I have to admit that I used to favor Anita Pallenberg to Marianne, for years, even though I worshipped them both, but recently I've decided that I find Marianne more compelling and personally relatable. And, actually, more beautiful. I find it amusing and sad that at such a young and vulnerable age she was swallowed into being a pop star, and her image was molded into this sort of 'rich Catholic school girl sexy'. Although her mother was a baroness, it was a title only, they weren't well off at all, and while I cannot think of a girl more wholesomely alluring, Marianne certainly wasn't this sort of vacous virgin queen. Look at some of the early images of her above: they pose her with animals, teddy bears, a fucking puzzle!! She must have been rolling her eyes while men her father's age were jerking off to those pics. I think a lot of men thought they could control and manipulate and exploit her. When I was a teenager, I felt exactly the same way, albeit on a much smaller scale!

Anyway, let's celebrate this golden goddess, without whom the Stones would never be the same. I have so many pictures of her, due to countless hours of internet searching, but I've posted just a few from when she was really young. It's hard not to post more!

1 comment:

aristole said...

you should talk about the other girlfriends.It would be interesting to hear your take on them.