- Broken English (album)
Name = Broken English
Released = October 1979
Recorded = Matrix Studios, 1979
Genre = Rock, New Wave
Length = 37:18
Producer = Mark Miller Mundy
AllmusicRating|4.5|5 [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:xgen97lskrdt~T1 link]
Rolling StoneRating|4|5 [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/mariannefaithfull/albums/album/174698/review/5942614/broken_english link]
Last album = "Faithless"
This album = "Broken English"
Next album = "
"Broken English" is a 1979 album by singer
Marianne Faithfull. It is often cited as Faithfull's definitive recording; Faithfull herself describes it in her autobiography as "the masterpiece". The album contains some of her most famous songs, including the title track and The Ballad of Lucy Jordan, and was notable for the controversy surrounding the final number "Why D’Ya Do It?".
Style and themes
Faithfull’s immediately preceding albums, "Dreaming My Dreams" and "Faithless" (which in fact shared some tracks), had been in a relatively gentle folk or
country and westernstyle. "Broken English" was a radical departure, featuring a contemporary fusion of rock, punk, new wave and dance, with liberal use of synthesizers. After a number of years of drug abuse, Faithfull's voice was in a lower register, far raspier, and had a more world-weary quality than in the past that matched the often raw emotions expressed in the newer songs.
The album’s title track took inspiration from
terroristfigures of the time, particularly Ulrike Meinhofof the Baader-Meinhofgroup. "Guilt" was informed by the Catholicupbringing of the singer and her composer Barry Reynolds. "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan", originally performed by Dr Hook, was a melancholy tale of middle class housewife's disillusionment; Faithfull's version became something of an anthem and was used on the soundtracks to the films "Montenegro" (1981) and " Thelma and Louise" (1991). "What’s the Hurry?" was described by Faithfull as reflecting the everyday desperation of the habitual drug user. Her cover of John Lennon’s " Working Class Hero", recorded as a tribute to her own heroes such as Mick Jaggerand Keith Richards, David Bowieand Iggy Pop, and Lennon himself, was widely praised.
The last track, "Why D’Ya Do It?", was a caustic, graphic rant of a woman reacting to her lover's infidelity. The lyrics began with the man's point of view, relating the bitter tirade of his jilted lover. It was set to a grinding tune inspired by
Jimi Hendrix’s recording of Bob Dylan’s " All Along the Watchtower". Poet and writer Heathcote Williamshad originally conceived the lyrics as a piece for Tina Turnerto record, but Faithfull succeeded in convincing him that Turner would never record such a number. Its plethora of four-letter wordsand explicit references to oral sexcaused controversy and led to a ban in Australia, where local pressings of the LP were released with smooth vinyl in place of the track and a 'bonus' 45 single as compensation (the ban did not extend to import copies).
Release and aftermanth
"Broken English" made #57 in the UK album charts and #82 in the US. "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan" was released as a single simultaneously with the LP in October 1979. The title track was issued as a single in January 1980. Faithfull included five tracks from the album on her 1990 live recording "Blazing Away": "Broken English", "Guilt", "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan", "Working Class Hero" and "Why D'Ya Do It?". In 1996, "Witch's Song" was covered by
Juliana Hatfieldfor the soundtrack of the film "The Craft".
An extended remix of the title track (5:46), released on 12" vinyl in 1979, remains unreleased on CD.
# "Broken English" (
Marianne Faithfull, Barry Reynolds, Joe Mavety, Steve York, Terry Stannard) – 4:35
# "Witches' Song" (Faithfull, Reynolds, Mavety, York, Stannard) – 4:43
# "Brain Drain" (Ben Brierley,
Tim Hardin) – 4:13
# "Guilt" (Barry Reynolds) – 5:05
The Ballad of Lucy Jordan" ( Shel Silverstein) – 4:09
# "What's the Hurry" (Joe Mavety) – 3:05
Working Class Hero" ( John Lennon) – 4:40
# "Why D'Ya Do It?" (
Heathcote Williams, Reynolds, Mavety, York, Stannard, Faithfull) – 6:45
Marianne Faithfull: vocals
* Barry Reynolds: guitar
* Joe Mavety: guitar
* Steve York: bass
* Terry Stannard: drums
* Diane Birch
* Frankie Collins
* Jim Cuomo: saxophone
* Isabella Dulaney
* Guy Humphries: guitar
Maurice Pert: percussion
Darryl Way: violin
Steve Winwood: keyboards
* Bob Potter: engineer
* Ed Thacker: mixing engineer
Dennis Morris: sleeve photography
* Marianne Faithfull with David Dalton (1994). "Faithfull: An Autobiography"
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