The Ballad of Lucy Jordan Marianne Faithfull



” The Ballad of Lucy Jordan ” is by Marianne Faithfull ( Marianne Evelyn Gabriel Faithfull ), the English singer, songwriter and actress. Marianne is best known for her 1964 hit single ” As Tears Go By “, written by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Andrew Loog Oldham, the Rolling Stones’ manager.
In addition to her hit single, she became just as famous for her relationship with Mick Jagger which lasted from 1966 to 1970.
To add to her success as a singer, Marianne also had success in film, appearing in I’ll Never Forget What’s’isname in 1967, The Girl on a Motorcycle in 1968 and Hamlet in 1969.
Her struggles overshadowed her success as an artist of both music and film during the 1970s. Marianne’s battle with heroin addiction, alcoholism and anorexia, the eating disorder, was well publicised.
It was the 1979 critically acclaimed album Broken English that brought Marianne back from the brink. The album is regarded by many to be her definitive recording with Marianne herself describing it as her ” masterpiece “.
” The Ballad of Lucy Jordan ” was written by Shel Silverstein ( Sheldon Allan ” Shel ” Silverstein ), who was an American poet, singer-songwriter, cartoonist, screenwriter and a children’s author. His books have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold over 20 Million copies.
Multi-talented Shel had written many songs which became hits for all sorts of artists, one of which was ” A Boy Named Sue ” by Johnny Cash. He also wrote most of the songs for Dr. Hook, including ” The Cover of ‘Rolling Stone ” and one of their best-known songs, ” Sylvia’s Mother “.
” The Ballad of Lucy Jordan ” was produced by Mark Miller Mundy, who also goes by just Mark Miller. Along with his work with Marianne, Mark has worked with Steve Winwood and Mike Edwards.
The song, originally recorded by Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show, was released on the 26th of October 1979 by record label Island ( Universal Music Group ) and was taken from Marianne’s seventh album, Broken English. The album, recorded at Matrix Studios in London was released on the 2nd of November 1979 and marked a significant comeback for the singer.
Broken English not only received critical acclaim but had success on the charts too. In the United States the album reached a peak of number eighty-two on the Billboard 200, and in the United Kingdom, it reached number fifty-seven on the UK Albums Chart. It also enjoyed success worldwide where it achieved the top five in countries such as Germany, France and New Zealand.
Lyrically the song describes the disillusionment and mental breakdown of a suburban housewife. Many people misinterpret the lyrics believing that the story told ends in suicide.
On the 24th of June 2007, Marianne appeared on ITV, the British TV network. During the interview on The South Bank Show, Marianne said that she interpreted the lyrics to mean that Lucy Jordan climbs to the rooftop but gets taken away by ” the man who reached and offered her his hand ” in an ambulance ( ” long white car ” ) to a mental hospital. The final lines of the song ” At the age of thirty-seven she knew she’d found forever / As she rode along through Paris with the warm wind in her hair … ” is in Lucy’s imagination at the hospital.
” The Ballad of Lucy Jordan ” was a commercial success for Marianne. In the United Kingdom the song entered the UK Singles Chart on the 24th of November 1979 and reached a peak of number forty-eight, it spent a total of six weeks on the UK chart. The single reached the Top Ten in Austria, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland.

BillBoard Hot 100 Highest Chart Position: N/A

UK Highest Chart Position: 48

Other Countries Highest Chart Positions: Australia (ARIA) 18, Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40) 2, Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia) 7, France (SNEP) 17, Germany (Official German Charts) 5, Netherlands (Dutch Top 40) 19, New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) 20, Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade) 5

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