A rock legend recounts the tale of her career, from her first hit with ""As Tears Go By,"" through her affair with Mick Jagger, her descent into drug dependency, and her personal and professional resurgence. 50,000 first printing. Tour.
By her own account, Faithfull has not always been the most pleasant person to her many fans and friends ... or even her family. However, she comes across in these pages as an exceptional and original artist who probably could not help but break the rules. And considering that Faithfull was still only a teenager when she recorded her first hit, "As Tears Go By," it was perhaps inevitable that too much success, too fast, would have some negative consequences, which is a lesson some of today's young pop stars might do well to heed.
Faithfull appears to have been almost totally unprepared for the pressures of rock and roll celebrity, touring, and the drugs and sex that so often go along with those first two circumstances. Of course, she recounts her experiences with the Rolling Stones (ex-boyfriend Mick Jagger in particular), and describes her meetings/relationships with everyone from Roy Orbison and Bob Dylan to Van Morrison and Jimi Hendrix. This could have deteriorated into mere name-dropping but somehow never does, and Faithfull goes on to sketch colorful scenes of encounters with Gene Pitney, Robert Mitchum, Tom Waits, and a host of others, as well. She clears up a few myths about the infamous Rolling Stones' drug bust (i.e., the ridiculous Mars Bar rumor), and does not shrink from discussing her addiction to heroin and how it fed her tendency toward selfishness in ways that she now regrets.
Mostly, however, Faithfull proves that she is a talented songwriter and a resourceful survivor (early suicide attempts notwithstanding). Her affection for her parents (especially her mother) is quite touching, and her commitment to her music is impressive. When Faithfull details the difficulty of creating her masterpiece, "Broken English," the reader gets a feel for how much of a struggle it really was for her to form a band and fight to ensure that every sound on the album was just right, the way she wanted it. Indeed, one critic has said that even the title of the record could very well apply to Faithfull herself.
Two quotes in this autobigraphy stand out both for what they say about Faithfull's approach to the entertainment industry, and the hard-won wisdom she acquired late in her life. Aspiring rock stars should take note of Faithfull's observation that, "...the law of pop music ...is that you have to give away a lot to get anything. If you're not prepared to surrender almost everything, you won't get anything at all."
In a more general statement that could apply to just about anyone, Faithfull later draws upon the painful experience of losing a close friend to remark: "There's a persistent illusion that love will heal all wounds, but it just isn't so. Love is transcendent, but it can't mend everything."
At 320 pages, Faithfull's bio ends a bit too soon, and you may find yourself wishing that she had included more recent information from the last 10 years of her career. There certainly is no shortage of material for her to cover. Yet that is also a good thing. As every performer knows, it's always best to leave the audience wanting more. Faithfull may be the crazy lady of rock and roll, but she has produced a warm and witty book with enough interesting twists and turns to hold the attention of anyone curious about what's behind "the star-making machinery" of the pop music business. Read and enjoy.