Legendary artist, singer, poet, songwriter and actress Marianne Faithfull answers Art is Alive’s Proust Questionnaire, ahead of releasing a new album, and starting a tour which includes two dates in London, on 25 and 26 July at Ronnie Scott’s.
Her six decade career is punctuated by twenty-one albums, hits including The Ballad of Lucy Jordan and Ruby Tuesday, musical collaborations and performances with David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Nick Cave, Beck, Brian Eno, Anna Calvi, Jarvis Cocker, PJ Harvey, Rufus Wainwright and Metallica.
Spotted by the Rolling Stones manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, at a young age, she started her career singing pop and folk songs. One of her first major releases, As Tears Go By, was composed by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Oldham, and became a chart and television success. She would later co-write the Stones’ Sister Morphine, and deeply influence Mick Jagger’s life and art.
Between 1966 and 1969, Marianne Faithfull continued to live life to the full, following the Beatles and gallerist Robert Fraser in India, playing herself in Jean-Luc Godard’s film Made in USA, later starring with Alain Delon in La Motocyclette, and playing Ophelia in Hamlet. Her acting career continued with plays by Bertolt Brecht and, more recently with cameos in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette and Absolutely Fabulous.
Her 1979 comeback album Broken English was a triumph; The Ballad of Lucy Jordan was featured in Ridley Scott’s cult movie Thelma and Louise. In September 2014, Marianne Faithfull released an album of new material, titled Give My Love to London which was a huge success.
Favourite David Bowie song?
Favourite memory of spending time with Robert Fraser?
The Jim Dine exhibition and the Yoko Ono/John Lennon exhibition with the balloons.
Your favourite poets?
William Shakespeare, T.S Eliot, Samuel Beckett.
If not yourself, who would you be?
Your idea of misery?
Having my hot water cut off.
Best thing a cabbie told you?
That I should go on the game.
Who is your hero?
Your favourite virtue?
I don’t like any of them.
Secret place in London?
George Jeffreys’ pub, on the waterfront.
Your favourite painter?
Your favourite hero in fiction?
If Groovy Bob was adapted to the big screen, who should play Robert and you?
I have no idea !
What do you collect?
This summer I’ll be playing at the Cognac Blues Festival, at Ronnie Scott’s in London and at the Carcassonne. In the autumn, I’ll be touring in Europe and will play at the Bataclan on the 25th of November. I will be releasing a live album in the autumn. Finally, Sandrine Bonnaire is currently shooting a documentary about me and my work.