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Marianne Faithful Releases <i>Before the Poison</i> Album


In the 1960s, Marianne Faithful made headlines as the girlfriend of Rolling Stones' singer, Mick Jagger. A singer in her own right, Marianne battled drug addiction, left the music business for more than a decade, then made a triumphant return. VOA's Bernie Bernard tells us about Marianne Faithfull's new album, "Before the Poison."

Marianne Faithfull's smoky, world-weary voice hints that she's a survivor. In the 1960s, she scored a hit with the Rolling Stones' composition, As Tears Go By, which was sung in a fragile soprano voice. Her 1969 song Sister Morphine offered a taste to come as the young singer became a casualty of the music business, and fell into drug addiction. Marianne made a comeback with her 1979 album, Broken English, which spoke of love, life and despair, and featured her lower, raspy voice.

Since then, Marianne has taken an artistic, sophisticated approach to her music, and has found a new generation of fans. Now 58 years old, Marianne has released her new album, Before The Poison.

For her new CD, Marianne Faithfull collaborated with alternative artists Nick Cave and P.J. Harvey, and Damon Albarn of the group, Blur.

Marianne says the album focuses on the world's social and political climate, commenting, "Some of it is about me, but most of it is about 'out there.' Before the Poison is me imagining what it would be like to be in a poisonous gas attack. I took it very literally. A Marianne Faithfull record has got to say something."

The singer recently played the part of the devil in The Black Rider a play written by beat generation author William S. Burroughs, with music by Tom Waits. Marianne had to cancel a European tour when she collapsed before a December show in Italy. She was diagnosed with chronic exhaustion, and is under doctor's orders to rest for three months.

From her home in Paris, Marianne writes, "I'm just sort of resting and preparing myself for my tour. I'm not doing much, and it's rather nice. I'm going swimming, walking around and eating." Her tour is expected to begin sometime in March.

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