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‘This Little Bird’: 18-Year-Old Marianne Faithfull Flies High

After initial top ten hits written by Jagger/Richards and by Jackie DeShannon, the teenage pop star’s next success came with a John D. Loudermilk song.

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Marianne Faithfull This Little Bird

It’s true that Marianne Faithfull was a member of the Rolling Stones‘ coterie, and that their co-manager Andrew Loog Oldham gave her (and then produced) the early Jagger-Richards composition ‘As Tears Go By’ as her debut hit. But she went on to build her own lasting reputation.

That song made the UK charts when Faithfull was a mere 17 and a half years old, reaching No. 9, and was followed by an even bigger hit with ‘Come And Stay With Me.’ The Jackie DeShannon song climbed to No. 4, in a performance again produced by Oldham.

A two-album arrival

By the spring of 1965, still only 18, she was releasing her first two albums. Curiously, they appeared on the very same day, with a self-titled, pop-flavoured debut set accompanied by the more folk-oriented UK release Come My Way. Both were produced by Oldham’s partner Tony Calder.

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The first of those albums contained Faithfull’s initial hits along with such covers as Tony Hatch’s composition for Petula Clark, ‘Down Town,’ Bacharach & David’s ‘If I Never Get To Love You’ and The Beatles” ‘I’m A Loser.’ The LP also included her next single, John D. Loudermilk’s ‘This Little Bird,’. That was in the last of three weeks at No. 6 in the UK when it hit the Billboard Hot 100 on 5 June 1965 at No. 73.

“The trouble with having a record called ‘This Little Bird’ is that I don’t like birds,” Faithfull confided in Record Mirror. “I’m being involved in publicity situations where I have to pose with birds — I’ve just come from the London Zoo where I’ve been photographed with a dove. But I can’t stand even a dove.

Trouble with a bird dog

“Partly,” she said, “it’s because I saw the Hitchcock film  The Birds, partly it’s because of a private incident.” She went on to explain, in the way that pop stars did in those halcyon days, that her pet dog had once caught a bird and, while she was sleeping, deposited it on her face.

The song went on to a No. 32 peak in the States, also reaching No. 6 in Ireland and No. 11 in Australia. Both the Marianne Faithfull and Come My Way albums lodged inside the UK top 15. The self-titled set containing all three hits also reached No. 12 in the US.

‘This Little Bird’ is on A Stranger On Earth: An Introduction To Marianne Faithfull, which can be bought here.

Follow the official Marianne Faithfull Best Of playlist.

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Format: UK English
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