Once scouring a charity shop at an unknown time, in an unknown country, I came across a box of 7-inch singles hidden below a rack of discarded clothing left by a recently deceased old gentleman. Clothing that still hung proudly after death, carrying the honour of its owner to the musty smelling shop for sartorial hipsters to find and marvel at the quality of the stitching on a jacket, or appreciate the cut of a coat made in a time when your clothes lasted for years, unlike now where everything falls part before you can make it through the months of a season.
In the box amongst the usual suspects in torn covers with school nicknames written in biro hearts that shared the names of once famous Pop Stars now out of favour, was a white paper sleeve covered in white masking tape. This made the single cover less flimsy, as if, like the clothes it had been made to last and although the original cover, perhaps a picture sleeve, had been lost, it seemed that someone knew that this record was worth preserving – how it ended up here, unloved, forgotten, is a mystery. The label was an enticing dark blue, a blue I hadn’t really seen before, almost purple. The writing on the label was silver and in large letters following the curve of the circle was DECCA, in bold print to the left, True High Fidelity and below that, 1965.
I hadn’t been aware of Marianne Faithfull in 1965 because I was seven, and even though it all happened later, I missed the hooha about The Rolling Stones – the controversy about the sex and the drugs, the lost innocence and the confectionary. Later I saw all the old black and white footage like war newsreels of Marianne and Mick outside the court, on their way to prison, pre-judged and condemned and ultimately set up by jealous sad and cynical, corrupt cops that couldn’t stand to see these undeserved beautiful people enjoying their riches in decadent forays into the countryside, dropping acid and making love to their friends.
Mick and Marianne were the ultimate Rock Star couple, him from a working class background, thick lips like they had been specially made to upset the establishment and her posh, rich and educated, wilfully throwing herself into a lion’s den of debauchery and madness. A madness that would eventually swallow Marianne Faithfull up and spit her out into the streets and cause the death of original Stones’ guitarist Brian Jones.
But before all this, discovered by their manager Andrew Loog Oldham, in 1964 Faithful had taken the Jagger/Richards song As Tears Go By into the Top Ten in the British charts along with three more of seven singes released in 1964/65. Summer Nights was written by songwriter Brian Thomas Henderson and later renowned session vocalist Liza Strike and with its atmospheric harpsichord intro it was reminiscent of a Sixties TV show theme like The Avengers or The Baron or Randall And Hopkirk (Deceased). Summer Nights became one of my favourite girl singer songs of the Sixties.
It would be Faithfull’s last real hit, reaching No.10 in the UK charts and No.24 in the US and it lasted all of one minute and forty nine seconds, delivering perfect, dreamy, hopeful, sensuous, sixties bliss.