A Very Young Marianne Faithfull Sings Her First Hit, ‘As Tears Go By’ (1965)

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.’ ”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

David Bowie Sings ‘I Got You Babe’ with Mar­i­anne Faith­full in His Last Per­for­mance As Zig­gy Star­dust

The Rolling Stones Live in Hyde Park, 1969: The Com­plete Film

The Rolling Stones Sing Jin­gle for Rice Krispies Com­mer­cial (1964)

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