Marianne Faithfull: The Untold Story Of The Rolling Stones’ Muse
Who Is She?
Back in the day, groupies followed popular rock bands everywhere. They showed up in clubs or their hotel rooms. With probably thousands of these girls vying for the attention of rockstars, not everyone managed to pursue a successful career in music and film. Marianne Faithfull did just that and more.
It was in the early 1960s when she started performing in coffeehouses around London. She was discovered at a Rolling Stones launch party by the band’s manager Andrew Loog Oldham. From then on, it was a rollercoaster ride for the innocent-looking beauty.
She was around 18 when she began working with Mick Jagger. At the time, she was married to an art dealer and they even had a child. They eventually divorced and she hung out more often with the Stones. She already slept with Keith Richards and Brian Jones before she dated Jagger. Their four-year relationship gained plenty of attention especially since they were both prominent figures in London’s party scene.
Faithfull was more than just the hard-partying girlfriend of Mick Jagger but the media continued to paint her as such. One awful myth that followed her for decades was when Keith Richards’ house was raided. According to the police, she was wearing nothing but a fur rug with Jagger enjoying a Mars bar on her private parts. Years later, an officer at the scene set things straight by saying that the candy part was false.
Nevertheless, the damage has been done. Faithfull revealed:
“It destroyed me. To be a male drug addict and to act like that is always enhancing and glamorizing. A woman in that situation becomes a slut and a bad mother.”
After dabbling with marijuana, she started using cocaine and heroin too. Even when she found out she was pregnant, she didn’t stop her drug use. On the seventh month of her pregnancy, she suffered from miscarriage.
At this point, she lost custody of her son and was battling her inner demons. This is what led to her suicide attempt. She also ended up sleeping on the streets. In an interview, she looked back at that bleak moment in her life:
“Suddenly, when I was living on the streets in St Anne’s Court [Soho], I realized that human beings were really good. The Chinese restaurant let me wash my clothes there. The man who had the tea stall gave me cups of tea. The meth drinkers looked out for me.”
Even when she was recovering and working on her music, she sustained injuries from small accidents like falling down the stairs or breaking her jaw. Her drug use also affected her voice. She went from feathery vocals to rough and raspy. But she said she didn’t mind the change.
Legend in Her Own Right
Rumor has it that Marianne Faithfull inspired several Rolling Stones classic hits such as Wild Horses, Sympathy for the Devil, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, and I Got The Blues.
At 72 years old, she has accomplished so much. And at the end of the day, Marianne Faithfull rose above her demons and struggles. She knows she’s not everyone’s cup of tea and doesn’t care one bit about it.