Marianne Faithfull: the muse who made it on her own terms

General Info on Blur

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As the singer prepares to launch her 21st album, we look again at a singular profession marked by artistic restlessness, personal troubles and triumphant reinventions

Should you’re in search of a research in contrasts, you may do worse than examine the two albums released this autumn with Marianne Faithfull’s identify on the duvet. The first is Come and Keep With Me, a set of her 1960s singles that opens and closes with two Rolling Stones-related tracks: the Mick Jagger and Keith Richards composition As Tears Go By, and Sister Morphine, co-written by Faithfull and Jagger while their relationship was in its dying throes. The second is Damaging Capability, a meditation on loss, grief and loneliness recorded in Paris last winter with the Dangerous Seeds’ Warren Ellis and PJ Harvey collaborator Rob Ellis. It also accommodates a version of As Tears Go By, however there the similarities end. Thematically and sonically, it might be the work of a totally totally different artist to Come and Stay With Me. Given how typically Faithfull’s private life has overshadowed her music, it is value noting the inventive distance she has travelled in her profession – further than lots of her more often lauded peers.

There was a time when the notion of both of these albums present would have appeared like a joke. Faithfull’s musical profession was not expected to last more than 50 years, nor was it imagined to have the type of weight which may nonetheless curiosity individuals many years on. It wasn’t presupposed to have any weight to it all. Andrew Loog Oldham, the Stones’ manager who noticed her at a celebration and launched her career as a vocalist, dismissively described her as “an angel with massive tits”. As she later recalled, she was “handled as anyone who not solely can’t even sing, but doesn’t really write or something, simply one thing you can also make into one thing … I used to be just cheesecake actually, terribly miserable”.

Related: Marianne Faithfull: ‘This is the most honest record I’ve made. It’s open-heart surgery, darling’

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