Why Marianne Faithfull Matters

Tanya Pearson

Why Marianne Faithfull Matters
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Why Marianne Faithfull Matters

Tanya Pearson

First as a doe-eyed ingenue with ‘As Tears Go By’, then as a gravel-voiced phoenix rising from the ashes of the 1960s with a landmark punk album, Broken English, and finally as a genre-less icon, Marianne Faithfull carved her name into the history of rock ‘n’ roll to chart a career spanning five decades and multiple detours. In Why Marianne Faithfull Matters, Tanya Pearson crafts a feminist account that explains the musician’s absence from the male-dominated history of the British Invasion and champions the eclectic late career that confirmed her redemption.


Putting memoir on equal footing with biographical history, Pearson writes about Faithfull as an avid fan, recovered addict, and queer musician at a crossroads. She’s also a professional historian unafraid to break from the expectations of the discipline if a “titty-centred analysis” or astrology can illuminate the work of her subject. Whether exploring Faithfull’s rise to celebrity, her drug addiction and fall from grace as a spurned “muse”, or her reinvention as a sober, soulful chanteuse subverting all expectations for an aging woman in music, Pearson reaffirms the deep connections between the listeners and creators and reveals, in her own particularly way, why Marianne Faithfull matters.

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