In 1990, dramatic siren Marianne Faithfull finally took credit as principal writer of the
Rolling Stones' classic "Sister Morphine," when she sang the song on her live LP
Blazing Away. Former fresh-faced ingenue Faithfull had written it with longtime
lover Mick Jagger in the late '60s, but the Stones claimed the track on their 1971 classic,
Jagger and company did not acknowledge Faithfull's contribution to the tune until this
year's release of the Stones' latest live LP, No Security. On the album, "Sister
Morphine" is credited to Jagger/Richards/Faithfull.
Today marks the 52nd anniversary of Faithfull's birth in London. Faithfull's father taught
Renaissance studies at London University; her Austrian-baroness mother was
descended from Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (from whose name is derived the word
While still in her teens, Faithfull was taken under the wing of Stones' producer Andrew
Loog Oldham, who saw in her unusually pretty face and sweet voice the makings of a
future hitmaker. Jagger and Keith Richards wrote the wistful "As Tears Go By" for
Faithfull, who took it to #22 in the United States and #9 in the U.K. in 1964.
Faithfull soon had hits without the Stones' help with 1965's "Come and Stay With Me,"
"This Little Bird" and "Summer Nights." But over the next few years she became chiefly
known as Jagger's girlfriend (though she didn't divorce John Dunbar, the father of her
son, until 1970).
In the late '60s and early '70s, Faithfull became a serious drug addict but managed to act
in such films as 1969's "Girl On A Motorcycle" and a 1970 production of "Hamlet." After
being treated in a mental hospital for heroin addiction, she retreated from public life.
Faithfull re-emerged in 1979 with the thrilling Broken English, a stark LP with
scabrous lyrics intensified by the singer's now-raspy voice.
The title track (RealAudio excerpt)
became an FM radio hit, and the album received wide critical acclaim. More lauded
offerings followed, including 1981's Dangerous Acquaintances. Strange
Weather, a 1987 album mostly comprised of pop standards, brought Faithfull back to
In 1994, Faithfull issued an autobiography that detailed most of her ups and downs. In
recent years, she has performed with the Chieftains and starred in the off-Broadway
review "Twentieth Century Pop" with Darlene Love and Merry Clayton.
Last year's live Twentieth Century Blues found Faithfull covering the cabaret
music of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht (including "Alabama Song"). Earlier this year, she
issued the anthology A Perfect Stranger.
Other birthdays: Ray Thomas (Moody Blues), 57; Robert Parissi (Wild Cherry), 48;
Yvonne Elliman, 47; Roger Voudouris, 44; Jim Reid (Jesus and Mary Chain), 37; and
Sadat X (Brand Nubian/Grand Puba), 30.