Marianne Faithfull was born in London. Discovered at a London party in 1964 by Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham, Faithfull was a 17-year-old convent school student and the daughter of a London University professor and an Austrian baroness.
Oldham introduced her to Stones Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who then wrote "Tears" for her; the song became an international hit and established her singing career. Faithfull's beauty in some ways handicapped her, however; many viewed her at the time as a gorgeous hanger-on whose success was handed to her courtesy of Mick Jagger, who soon became her boyfriend.
Still, she produced three very credible albums for London Records between 1965-66, the first of which (Marianne Faithfull) nearly entered the top 10, and proved an able interpreter of non-Stones material via three additional top 40 hits ("Come And Stay With Me," "This Little Bird," and "Summer Nights") in 1965.
Faithfull stopped making records after 1966's Faithfull Forever, though one final British single emerged in 1968--"Something Better," which bore on its B-side the Jagger/Richards/Faithfull composition "Sister Morphine." Instead, she made movies... and headlines. Her film roles began with 1968's I'll Never Forget What's 'Is Name and Girl On A Motorcycle (released in America as Naked Under Leather).
Much of those activities were overshadowed by the publicity she received after moving in with Jagger in 1967: she was involved in that year's much-publicized Stones drug bust; she accompanied Jagger to India to visit Maharishi Mahesh Yogi; she was busted once more; she became addicted to heroin; and, eventually, she attempted suicide while in Australia with Jagger (then starring in the film Ned Kelly), after which she and the Stone split up.
Faithfull gradually rebuilt her career. In 1974 she appeared as part of David Bowie's televised 1980 Floor Show, later shown in the States as a special segment of NBC's Midnight Special; by 1977 released Dreaming My Dreams, her first album in 10 years. That effort served as the groundwork for a 1979 deal with Island Records, for whom the singer recorded throughout the next decade.
Marianne Faithfull truly began anew with 1979's Broken English. Faithfull, whose songwriting in the past had been minimal, was now much more involved in the creation of her work, particularly her lyrics, and continued to be on the albums that followed, including Dangerous Acquaintances (1981) and A Child's Adventure (1983).
A meeting with producer Hal Willner resulted in Faithfull singing "Ballad Of A Soldier's Wife" on his 1985 Kurt Weill tribute album, Lost In The Stars. Following her appearance on the soundtrack to 1986's Trouble In Mind, Willner then produced Faithfull's superb Strange Weather, a collection of standards including "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams," "Penthouse Serenade," "Yesterdays," and Faithfull's own past hit "As Tears Go By."
Faithfull's follow-up was the live Blazing Away, which established her as a world-class performer. Faithfull then briefly taught lyric-writing seminars at a Colorado arts college; she has since moved to Ireland with her husband, American playwright Giorgio Dellaterza. Still an enigmatic figure, Marianne Faithfull now has a past of which she can be very proud indeed.