Music Throwback Saturday: Broken English

Marianne Faithfull has been constantly reinventing herself musically for over 50 years.

Marianne_FaithfullNear the end of the run of those Warner Brothers Loss Leaders I used to buy, the eclectic music went from TWO to THREE whole dollars for a double album (LP) set.

The Troublemakers collection in 1980, which proved to be the last iteration for over a decade, featured groups such as the Sex Pistols and Devo. As Dustbury put it, “This is as punk as Burbank would get.”

Here’s the description of one artist: “MARIANNE FAITHFULL may not be a new recording artist but what she’s up to these days is definitely not ‘As Tears Go By.'” She “remains very enigmatic, very British and very with it. The intensity of her Broken English LP is as unprecedented as it is surprising, and the record is every bit as good as its press makes it out to be.

Her Wikipedia article notes her music career, and her highly publicized romance with Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger. “She co-wrote ‘Sister Morphine’, which is featured on the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers album,” and even recorded it [LISTEN], but had a legal battle to keep the writing credit.

Graham Nash says his song Carrie Anne by The Hollies was about Faithfull and the Beatles’ 1966 song “And Your Bird Can Sing” from the Revolver album may have been written about her as well.

But the “hip Swinging London scene” she shared with Jagger had its definite downside:

She was found wearing only a fur rug by police executing a drug search at [Keith] Richards’ house in West Wittering, Sussex. In an interview 27 years later…, Faithfull discussed her wilder days and admitted that the…incident had ravaged her personal life: “It destroyed me. To be a male drug addict and to act like that is always enhancing and glamorising. A woman in that situation becomes a slut and a bad mother”.

“Severe laryngitis, coupled with persistent drug abuse” in the early 1970s “permanently altered Faithfull’s voice, leaving it cracked and lower in pitch.”

The album Broken English, although not a massive commercial hit – #57 in the UK album charts and #82 in the US – was, as suggested, was critically acclaimed. Faithfull calls it “the masterpiece.”

Marianne Faithfull has been constantly reinventing herself musically for over 50 years. Despite some health issues, including breast cancer in 2006, she has persevered. “In September 2014, Faithfull released an album of all-new material, titled Give My Love to London.”

As Tears Go By (1964), the Jagger/Richards composition she recorded before the Rolling Stones did. It went to #9 in the UK, #22 in the US. LISTEN to it HERE (TV performance, introduced by Brian Epstein) or HERE (another TV show); rerecording HERE.

Now LISTEN to the title track from the album Broken English (1979) HERE or HERE (12″ long version).

Mick Jagger is 70, tomorrow

The Wikipedia describes “the hypnotic riff Brian Jones is playing during the verses pays a tribute to Bo Diddley’s song ‘Diddley Daddy'”

Mick Jagger at the White House

I started reading this Philip Norman book about Mick Jagger last month, and I’ve never understood the physical appeal of the man, but it is palpable from the very first chapter. He continues to be such an icon that there was a (relatively) recent song about him, Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5. A lock of his hair fetched $6,000 at auction recently; it was for charity to be sure, but still.

Anyway in honor of Sir Michael’s 70th birthday, here are my 20 favorite Stones songs. The album references are to the UK releases; worse than with the Beatles, the US record company could be swipe one song and stick it on another album, or two.

20. Start Me Up -Tattoo You (1981)
Not sure I liked this song as much as appreciating another’s enthusiasm for it. I went to my 10th high school reunion, and it was deadly boring. Afterward, a bunch of us went to our friend Cecily’s house and partied until about 6 a.m.

My good friend Karen was playing this brand new song by the Stones; she must have listened to it a half dozen times or more that night, quite loudly, if memory serves. This was well before I heard it too often in a certain commercial.

19. You Gotta Move – Sticky Fingers (1971)
A gospel standard that still sounds like the band.

18. Play With Fire – B-side to “The Last Time” single (1965)
Love the contrast between the pretty guitar and intense feelings in the lyric.

17. Dead Flowers – Sticky Fingers
I rather liked the faux country feel of the song. And for some reason, always liked the line about the US mail.

16. Ruby Tuesday – single (1966)
It wasn’t as strong as Nirvana would do later, but they had a few songs where the verse is lovely and quiet, and the chorus more robust.

15. Lady Jane – Aftermath (1966)
Brian Jones’ dulcimer helps to make this a beautiful piece. Sounds vaguely Elizabethan, or something.

14. Love in Vain – Let It Bleed (1969)
A Robert Johnson song, played with a bit more country feel than the original.

13. Please Go Home – Between the Buttons (1966)
It’s the echoey effect of the chorus, the distorted guitar, plus a theremin, played by Brian Jones, which gives it an almost early psychedelic feel.

12. Happy – Exile on Main Street (1972)
This is Keith Richards’ signature song with the band. And with the brass, it sounds so, well, happy.

11. Jumpin’ Jack Flash – single (1968)
Great guitar line. “But it’s all right.”

10. Backstreet Girl – Between the Buttons
Brian Jones on glockenspiel and Jack Nitzsche on the harpsichord, plus an accordion. Lovely waltz that was a social commentary on some UK sex scandal of the day.

9. Street Fightin’ Man – Beggars Banquet
Its muscular guitar playing and off-the-beat drumming give the song urgency. What is its politics is a bit unclear.

8. I Got The Blues – Sticky Fingers
Bluesy organ of Billy Preston, not to mention the horns made this for me.

7. 19th Nervous Breakdown – single (1966)
Wikipedia describes “the hypnotic riff Brian Jones is playing during the verses pays a tribute to Bo Diddley’s song ‘Diddley Daddy’… The song is also well known for Bill Wyman’s so-called ‘dive-bombing’ bass line at the end of the song.” The tune was ripped off by other artists, it was so infectious.

6. Mother’s Little Helper – Aftermath
In some ways, an anti-prescription drug song:
“And if you take more of those
you will get an overdose
No more running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
They just helped you on your way
through your busy dying day”

5. I Am Waiting – Aftermath
Another soft/loud song. Always loved the intentional echo effect in the vocal in the last chorus. There’s a great cover of this by a group called Ollabelle.

4. Paint It, Black – Aftermath
Brian Jones’ sitar. “I want to see the sun blotted out from the sky.” When the press made it the “good” Beatles v. the “evil” Stones in the day, this full-bodied tune was a good example of the latter.

3. You Can’t Always Get What You Want – Let It Bleed
I went to see the movie The Big Chill when it first came out in 1983. The first scene is a funeral, and the organist is noodling about when I recognize this song and started laughing; I’m the only one in the theater to do so for a long 30 seconds until other people start getting the joke. From the French horn opening to the great choir response, a tremendous song.

2. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – Out of Our Heads (1965)
What’s to say? One of the most recognizable riffs in all of pop music, often stolen. This song is always on the list of greatest singles, and rightly so.

1. Gimme Shelter – Let It Bleed
My favorite song is this apocalyptic tune, with the great Merry Clayton vocal.

July Ramblin’

A dedicated to Sir Mick

I was moved by this:
Why didn’t I scream when I was raped?
I was 15 when it happened. Now, after a career as a terrorism expert, I want to find out what took place, and why, By Jessica Stern

I was encouraged by this:

There are now about 250 million people worldwide living in jurisdictions that provide for marriage equity, as this colorful chart will help to demonstrate.
The big spike you see in 2008 is California recognizing gay marriage through the courts, and then un-recognizing it through the passage of Proposition 8. Right now, it’s possible to marry your same-sex partner in Buenos Aires, in Mexico City, in Ames, Iowa, and in Pretoria, South Africa, but not in San Francisco. With countries like Argentina and Portugal now recognizing same-sex marriages, however, the global trajectory has returned to its slow but steady upward pace.

I had forgotten about this:

Evanier noted correctly that the last name of the Dennis the Menace creator is Ketcham, not Ketchum, as the copyright notice on the stamps suggests. While verifying the spelling, I came across arguably, the most awkward moment in Dennis the Menace history.

I was frustrated by this:
Stop the Madness: Education’s foremost historian on where NCLB went wrong, ending the testing regime, and why we need neighborhood schools.
Adapted from The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, by Diane Ravitch (Basic Books, 2010).

When I was having insomnia, just watching this help relax me enough to go to sleep:
water therapy

These made me laugh:
Star Wars on the bagpipes while riding a unicycle (well, of course)
Ken Levine and Hells Angels
Life lessons from a Disney mermaid!
I felt uncomfortable laughing at this:
Suicide Jumper
And this, while well crafted, just didn’t make me laugh at all:
Seinfeld drama

In honor of Mick Jagger’s birthday this month, I listened to this cover:
Ollabelle – I Am Waiting
For a reason listed above, listening to this song by the Box Tops: Sweet Cream Ladies, Forward March, which I only vaguely recall. It got to #28 in early 1969.

I hope to be listening to this soon:

Music Legend Brian Wilson Completes Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin, A New Disney Pearl CD of George and Ira Gershwin Classics Set For Release August 17. Highlights include two new songs Wilson crafted from previously unpublished George Gershwin music


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