May 24, 2007

Marianne Faithfull: 60's Mod Queen

A description of the 60's British mod scene wouldn't be complete without Marianne Faithfull who made some forgettable records (As Tears Go By) and was Mick Jagger's girlfriend, living in the fast lane and smoking and boozing her way through life. A story from those days include Jagger being arrested in a drug raid, caught with his head between Faithfull's legs enjoying a Mars bar. Marianne claims the tale is apocryphal.

Ms. Faithfull came by her eccentricities honestly. According to, "her mother was a Viennese baroness, a descendant of Leopold Baron von Sacher-Masoch, author of the masochistic classic "Venus in Furs." On the Faithfull side, her father was a British spy whose own father had invented a sexual device called the Frigidity Machine."

If you saw Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst last year, then you saw Marianne in the role of Maria Theresa. A true original, Marianne is all about attitude. Watch her sing "I Got You Babe" with a very young David Bowie in a role reversal song on NBC in 1973. Hers is not a great voice, but the video was WAY ahead of its time and so outre. In rewatching this video, it struck me how much Bowie enjoys mocking the song. Wonder what the NBC bosses thought of it all.

Marianne in her most recent role in Irina Palm. Booze, cigarettes, and drugs will age you. Ask Keith Richards.

1 comment:

ArtfulSub said...


An absolutely SUPERLATIVE old video find! She was clearly on some sort of illicit drug. Because, she actually could sing on-tune when somewhere near the vicinity of sobriety.

The "mods" versus "rockers" thing in Britain was certainly interesting. A topsy-turvy battle where Bourgeoise college boys were portrayed as "tough" rockers and working-class yobs were "artsy".