Beyond the Rock 'N' Roll Myth: 10 Artists Whose Personal Lives Overshadowed Their Work

We’re delighted to see that Marianne Faithfull’s Broken English is getting the deluxe reissue treatment this week — it’s one of the great comeback records of all time, and also one that’s been somewhat overshadowed over the years by its creator’s oft-discussed personal life. We don’t have a great deal of use for rock ‘n’ roll mythology here at Flavorpill; it’s not that we’re anti-drug, but we’ve seen too many great musicians and artists killed by embracing the sex/drugs/rock ‘n’ roll cliché as if it were a prerequisite for credibility and/or creative fulfillment. It’s also frustrating when we see the personal lives of musicians overshadow their work, either because their lifestyle ultimately undermines their creative output, or because a slavering news media insists on focusing on the former at the expense of the latter. With that in mind, here’s a roundup of artists whose work we’d like to see rescued from the haze of their personal mythology.

Marianne Faithfull

Even now, Marianne Faithfull’s name is just as likely to evoke images of Mars bars and heroin amongst the chattering classes as it is her music. This is a great injustice, given that she’s been singing for 40 years and her best moments — most notably Broken English, but also her Kurt Weill records (and, of course, her star turn as God in Absolutely Fabulous) — have been way more interesting than her drug problems and her endlessly chronicled relationship with Mick Jagger.