Marianne Faithfull Wanted All Royalties From a Song She Wrote With The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

TL;DR:

  • The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote one of Marianne Faithfull’s songs with her.
  • Jagger denied Faithfull inspired the song.
  • Subsequently, Faithfull wanted all of the royalties from the track.
The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in front of a building
The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards | Bettmann / Contributor

Marianne Faithfull gave the world many classic rock songs in the 1960s. The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards co-wrote one of her most famous songs with her. Subsequently, Faithfull wanted all the royalties from the track.

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards co-wrote a song with Marianne Faithfull that The Rolling Stones later covered

Faithfull, Jagger, and Richards are the credited writers of the song “Sister Morphine.” Faithfull recorded the original version of the track. Subsequently, The Rolling Stones covered “Sister Morphine” for their album Sticky Fingers.

During a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone, Jagger discussed the origin of “Sister Morphine.” “She wrote a couple of lines; she always says she wrote everything, though,” he said. “I can’t even tell you which ones. She’s always complaining she doesn’t get enough money from it. Now she says she should have got it all.”

Jagger explained the meaning of “Sister Morphine.” “It’s about a man after an accident, really,” he explained. “It’s not about being addicted to morphine so much as that. Ry Cooder plays wonderfully on that.” Jagger was asked if the song was about Faithfull. “No,” he replied. “If you listen to the lyrics — that’s what I remember, anyway. ‘Here I lie in my hospital bed.'”

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Keith Richards said his band’s version of the song stayed on the shelf for some time

The book Keith Richards on Keith Richards: Interviews & Encounters includes an interview from 1971. In the interview, Richards was asked if Sticky Fingers took a year. “Well, I mean, stretched out, the songs, one could say it stretched over two years, you know, because ‘Sister Morphine’ comes from ’68, although we cut it in early ’69,” he said. “Some songs were written awhile ago.”

Richards discussed the length of time it took to craft The Rolling Stones’ albums. “They’ve usually taken longer and longer,” he said. “Which really pisses me off. Because everybody’s laid back a little more and everybody has other things.”

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How Marianne Faithfull’s ‘Sister Morphine’ and The Rolling Stones’ cover performed on the charts in the United Kingdom

“Sister Morphine” was the B-side to Faithfull’s song “Something Better.” According to The Official Charts Company, neither song charted in the United Kingdom.

The Rolling Stones’ version of “Sister Morphine” was not a single. The Official Charts Company reports their song didn’t chart in the U.K. It appeared on the album Sticky Fingers. The album topped the U.K. chart for five weeks, staying on the chart for 32 weeks in total.

“Sister Morphine” is a classic song — regardless of who wrote it.

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