On Friday we featured a 1973 video of Marianne Faithfull and David Bowie dressed as a nun and a transvestite, making a burlesque of Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You Babe.” Today we thought we’d roll back the clock a bit further, to when Faithfull was a bright-eyed 18-year-old singing her debut single, “As Tears Go By.”
The performance was broadcast on January 19, 1965 on the NBC program Hullabaloo, an American musical variety show that aired in 1965 and 1966. Each weekly episode was hosted by a guest artist who would at some point ask for the cameras to be switched over to London, where the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein would introduce an artist from England. On this occasion Faithfull appeared nervous as she sang “As Tears Go By,” which had been released the previous summer in England but more recently in America.
Faithfull’s recording of the song peaked at number nine on the British charts and number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. It was one of the first songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, along with their manager Andrew Loog Oldham. The Stones themselves didn’t release a recording of it until December 1965, a year and a half after Faithfull’s version came out. In a brief interview at the end of the Hullabaloo segment, Epstein asks Faithfull how she came to record the song:
“I met Andrew Oldham at a party,” she says, “and he asked me if I’d like to make a record, because he thought I had a face that could sell.”
“And what did you think?” says Epstein.
“I thought, ‘This is fine. Perhaps I have. Let’s sell it.’”