100 Great Songs From The British Invasion: 1963-1966. ‘As Tears Go By’- Marianne Faithfull. Marianne Faithfull started her singing career singing small clubs and coffeehouses in 1964. Her life took a turn that year when she attended a Rolling Stones party with artist John Dunbar. [John Dunbar has a place in Beatles history- most notably- he was the co-owner of an art gallery in London called the Indica Gallery. It was at the Indica in 1966 that John met Yoko.] Anyway- at the Rolling Stones party the seventeen year old Marianne was discovered by The Rolling Stones producer and manager Andrew Loog Oldham.
‘As Tears Go By’- was one of the first songs written by songwriting team of Jagger-Richards. Up until this time The Rolling Stones were what Paul McCartney recently tagged them as- a Blues Cover Band. Oldham reportedly locked them in a kitchen and told them to write a song. The song they wrote was called ‘As Time Goes By’- well there was a famous song already with that name- from the film Casablanca. Oldham changed the word Time to- Tears. The Stones at this time- in 1964-were not a ballad singing band. ‘As Tears Go By’- certainly didn’t fit them. Oldham gave it to Marianne Faithful and she recorded it. She had her first hit on her hands. It would peak at #9 in the UK and #22 in the US. In 1966 The Rolling Stones would get around to recording it and their version released in the US went to #6. Marianne Faithfull married John Dunbar- they had a son together. Then she made a bold move- in her words “my first move was to get a Rolling Stone as a boyfriend. I slept with three and decided the lead singer was the best bet.’ She moved in with Jagger and their notorious relationship lasted until the end of the decade. Faithfull would battle though anorexia, homelessness and heroin addiction–but she was a survivor. Due to a case of laryngitis and drugs- her voice became raspy- but she would enjoy a comeback in the late 1970’s and her career continues to this day. She has released a new album this year.
Single: ‘As Tears Go By’- Marianne Faithfull/Written by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Andrew Loog Oldham and Marianne Faithfull/ Record Company- Decca/ Time: 2:33/ Produced by Andrew Loog Oldham/ Recorded 1964- Released June 1964/ Peaked at #22 in US Billboard Hot 100, #9 in UK Singles Chart.
The ingénue of ‘As Tears Go By’ was someone else, both in voice and person, by the last track of ‘Broken English.’ She does a great if bleak version of Cohen’s ‘Tower Of Song.’
I love Marianne’s and the Stones’ versions of this song equally. They each made it their own, imo. She’s still an intriguing person to me. I wish someone or something could have saved her from the terrible lows she experienced.
Getting involved with The Rolling Stones in the 1960’s not good for your health… but she survived!
All the girls in high school loved the song. Spin it on their record player and boo-hoo about their teenage sadness. I thought it was a good cut and the singer sounded very girly and sweet. Maybe moving in with the Stones wasn’t the best move. She should have latched on to one of the Fabs, or even Donovan. I had forgotten about her, so thanks for digging this one up.
The girls who hooked up with Stones- especially Mick and Keith [and probably of course Brian] didn’t fare well..