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Fri, 18 Feb 2005

Before the Poison / Marianne Faithfull
Before the Poison Some performers age gracefully. Some, like Petula Clark, barely seem to age at all. And then there are those who are barely recognizable as their former selves. They remind is, whether we want to acknowledge it or not, of our own journey from bright and optimistic youth to sour cynicism.

I first learned of Marianne Faithfull through As Tears Go By, her 1964 cover of a Rolling Stones hit. The next time I encountered her was my freshman year of college, when the student union ran a film called Naked Under Leather. (She was.) The film made something of an impression. What can I say? I was at an impressionable age.

It's forty years after that first experience and thirty from the second. And the innocent-sounding waif of 1964, who rerecorded As Time Goes By in 1987, has become a world-weary older woman.

We can hear the toll the years have taken on Ms. Faithfull, just as they will do with each of us. We don't recognize the contrast in ourselves quite so clearly. Perhaps there's a small blessing in the way vision, hearing and memory all soften as we get older.

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