Marianne Faithfull

The Ballad of Lucy Jordan

Song Review by

Written by Shel Silverstein, "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan" wasn't the most renowned song from 1979's Broken English album, but it was one of the most thought-provoking of the lot, along with her version of John Lennon's "Working Class Hero." The song deals with a suburban housewife who has decided that her humdrum lifestyle coupled with the redundancy of routine has caused her to miss out on her simple dreams and that life had passed her by. After looking back on her wasted years, she finally commits suicide by jumping off of her apartment building, where soon after her fantasies began to take place within the realm of her afterlife. Aside from the aptly nonchalant narrative that is revealed by Faithfull in an accordingly low-key demeanor, her faint vocal approach accompanied by the lone synthesizer emanates an eerie candor throughout the song's duration. This wispiness helps to build the fantasy/reality concept of the song, and shows Faithfull at her most sincere amongst a backdrop of charcoal-voiced punk- and rock-flavored tunes. Fittingly out of place, "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan" originates from the same album as the raunchy "Why D'Ya Do It," and although the song never gained any commercial fame, it is one of her best-loved pieces from her sturdiest of albums.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Broken English 1979 Island 4:13
Thelma & Louise 1991
Original Soundtrack
MCA 4:06
Faithfull: A Collection of Her Best Recordings 1994 Island 4:06
Broken English/Strange Weather 1995 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab 4:11
A Perfect Stranger: The Island Anthology 1998 Island 4:09
A Stranger on Earth: An Introduction to Marianne Faithfull 2001 Decca 4:07
Broken English/Faithfull 2002 Universal International 4:13
Girls Triple Set 2003
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 4:06
The Best Of Marianne Faithfull 20th Century Masters The Millennium Collection 2003 Island 4:11
No Image 2004
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 4:05
No Image 2004
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 4:07
Driving Songs 2006
Various Artists
Virgin 4:07