Marianne Faithful made her name during the ‘British Invasion’ of the United States in the 1960s. Faithfull’s mellifluous, soprano vocals on ‘As Tears Go By’ gained her worldwide attention and launched a career that would span five decades. It was a career that saw her cross paths with a number of artists who would go onto become key figures in music history. One such figure was Bob Dylan, and below we look at the song Faithful described as being her favourite Dylan track of all.
Faithfull began her career in 1964 after landing some gigs in local coffeehouses and folk clubs. It was at this time she was discovered by Rolling Stones manager Andrew Oldham who went on to compose some of her earliest hits. Faithfull’s rise to fame was also supported by the much-publicised romantic relationship she had with Mick Jagger from 1966-1970. And whilst many of her early songs were written by Jagger and Oldham, Faithfull would go on to establish herself as a successful recording artist in her own right, releasing her critically acclaimed album, Broken English, in 1979.
Broken English marked the end of Faithfull’s absence from the world of music due to health problems. In the 1970s, she was diagnosed with severe laryngitis. This, coupled with her excessive drug abuse, changed her vocal style significantly. In the ’60s, the singer was famed for her high-register, but the effect of her lifestyle in the ’70s left her with a huskier, more mature tone. Many argued that it was these “whisky-soaked” vocals that allowed Faithful to capture the complex emotions of Broken English so effectively.
In an interview, Marianne Faithfull described her introduction to an infatuated Bob Dylan in the 1960s: “I first met Bob at the Savoy in 1965,” she said, adding: “There’s a clip of me and Joan Baez singing ‘As Tears Go By’ in the hotel room while Bob is hammering away on a typewriter. Later when I turned him down, he told me that it had been a poem about me, but he’d torn it up. I was so upset, but we got over that and have been friends for 56 years. I really like him.”
But as well as being a close friend, Faithfull has always appreciated Dylan’s songwriting, admiring his ability to capture universal feelings in just a few lines. Describing her favourite Dylan track, Faithwell went on to say: “I think ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’ is about those times in life where you just have to say, ‘OK, we tried, it didn’t work’, but it’s a much sleeker way of saying it. It’s very loving, but obviously it’s all over.”
Adding: “I don’t really know why I love it so much, but I’ve been in many situations where I would have liked to have time stop and have a band playing and sing that song to people. I’ve recorded it twice. The second time, I’d had more experiences and really felt it. I love the way his songs change octaves. I’m suffering long Covid and my voice is cracked, but I’m trying to recover it by singing ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.’”
Stream the track, below.