“As Tears Go By”: Rock & Roll Repast

Posted: April 26th, 2021 | Filed under: Music | No Comments »

The image is iconic as any from the mid 60s, when mainstream media was taking notice.

The musical fad of teenagers, the one that rocked forth the previous decade, obviously had traction.

Rock & Roll. In all its many manifestations. Blasting from transistor radios, strapped to bicycle handlebars. Pouring from new stations on Friday night’s in the parents’ borrowed station wagon.

The vision, that moment from the boob tube, as it was still dismissively called, black and white. From “Hullabaloo,” which along with “Shindig” was one of two primetime network acknowledgments of the burgeoning culture.

Paul Anka introduced Brian Epstein. Brian Epstein introduced her.

And, there she was, in all her innocence — or so we thought — dressed on Carnaby Street. Straight hair. Bangs. Pale. Impassive.

Perched by some production designer, supported by one arm, her legs tucked under her, immobile on a cube, but for the slightest occasional tilt of the head or time keeping twist of the ankle. Her voice sweet, a whisper.

That indelible vision, a teenaged boy’s desire in toto.

Marianne Faithfull.

The song, a melancholy lament, proof that the Glimmer Twins who wrote it, weren’t totally evil bad boys, from which the world needed shelter.

Faithfull was Jagger’s GF at the time. She was hoping to use modeling money to attend Oxford.

Instead she became a rock & roll fave.

A one-hit wonder, more or less.

A junkie.

A survivor.

A woman of many lives, who overcame illnesses and addictions and career swings.

So, why am I thinking of Marianne Faithfull this day?

Well, I read an article this morning in the NY Times about her presence, her latest endeavor, a project reading poetry.

Byron. Keats. Shelley.

She is a woman of substance. Has been for a long while. Strong. obviously. Of diverse interests. Intelligent.

A woman in full.

But that song. That image from a half century gone. The tight camera close ups. He lack of emotion. It still resonates.

 * * * * *

So, curious to watch yet again, I youtubed the video, which I’ve viewed now and again through the decades, coming upon, as oft happens when chasing down that sort of rabbit hole, another version of the song.

This one by the Stones themselves. From ’13.

And there’s Jagger dueting with Taylor Swift, who frankly isn’t within a time zone of the right key, couldn’t find it with a new Apple Air Tag.

But her hair, Her look. It’s as if that 18 year old on “Hullabaloo” was still around.

But Mick and Taylor turn the melancholy tune into a little frolic, dancing about like they’re at cotillion. When the song, lovely really if simplistic, is about lost youth.

Oh well.

There’s still Ms. Faithfull, an ingenue, living on in ’64 in video.

The reality of lost youth it now evokes more resonant than ever.

— c d kaplan

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