Monday, February 20, 2012

Inspirational Icon Monday: Marianne Faithfull

Marianne Faithfull may have had a barroness for a mother, but it took the Rolling Stone's manager Andrew Loog Oldman to discover this English singer and a high-profile relationship with Rolling Stone frontman Mick Jagger (who she left father of her son Nicholas and husband John Dunbar for) to give her the push her career needed to go international. In 1964 at the age of 17, she came out with three songs written by Jagger and Richards including her first chart success "As Tears Go By," and was the muse for favorite Rolling Stone songs "Wild Horses" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

Very much apart of the hip swinging London scene, Faithfull became addicted to cocaine and heroin. In 1970 her relationship with Jagger ended, she lost custody of her son with Dunbar, her mother attempted suicide and her career went into a deep decline. Her drug addiction as well as a battle with anorexia got so bad that Faithfull became homeless living on the streets of Soho in London for years.

Although a severe case of laryngitus robbed her of her previous range and gave back a much lower raspier sound, she was able to make a complete comeback in 1979 with the album Broken English. Her complex beats, unique combination of punk, rock and early rap as well as her aggressive politically charged lyrics made this her most successful work. It wasn't until the eighties after falling down a flight of stairs and breaking her jaw, having a boyfriend commit suicide by jumping from a building while on a drug high, and then having her heart stop due to a heroin overdose did she get real help at a rehab center. By finally reaching out for this help, she was able to continue her music career and experiment with a variety of musical styles.

While the swinging sixties is often glamorized by the media, films and old photos, Faithfull knows it as where her problems started. She only had a couple of great years where she wore the chic mod clothes, had the big hits and held onto the role of music's darling before she traded in her youth for the misery of a 2-3 decade long struggle with drugs. It's sad what a teenager will unknowingly sacrifice to be cool.

My Marianne Faithfull look: short girlish dresses, fur coats, big hats, knee socks and kitten heels.

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