Popklassieker du jour: Sister Morphine

De uit 1979 daterende 12-inch versie van Sister Morphine, wat mij betreft veruit superieur aan de originele versie uit 1969. Faithfull schreef de song samen met haar toenmalige vriendje Mick Jagger en met Keith Richards. Het origineel verscheen in 1969 als B-side van de single Something Better. Een licht gewijzigde versie van de song door de Stones zélf is terug te vinden op Sticky Fingers uit 1971. Overigens gaven Jagger en Richards pas na door de rechter toe gedwongen te zijn co-credits aan Marianne. Niet ok, jongens.

Toen Faithfull de song schreef had ze naar eigen zeggen maar één keer heroïne gebruikt, maar tegen de tijd dat Sticky Fingers verscheen was ze hopeloos verslaafd aan smack. In 1972 was de voormalige lieveling van Swinging London een aan anorexia lijdende dakloze junkie. In 1979 pakte Faithfull haar muzikale carrière weer op met het ijzersterke album Broken English. Haar verslaving wist ze overigens pas diep in de jaren ’80 van zich af te schudden.

Faithful in haar autobiografie over Sister Morphine: “Sister Morphine” was an attempt.. to make art out of a pop song! People tend to assume that “Sister Morphine” comes from an incident in my life, that it is a parable of a junkie’s last hours. But at the time I wrote it I’d only taken smack once. I was still far from becoming a junkie. “Sister Morphine” was in my head – my feelings about what it might be like to be an addict.. By 1972, when it came out on ‘Sticky Fingers’, I was the character in the song. You have to be very careful what you write because it’s a gateway, and whatever it is you’ve summoned up may come through..’

Here I lie in my hospital bed
Tell me, sister morphine, when are you coming round again?
Oh, I don’t think I can wait that long
Oh, you see, I’m not that strong

All the other patients say they’ve never seen a man with such pain
Tell me, sister morphine, when are you coming round again?
Oh, I don’t think I can wait that long
Oh, you see, my pain’s so strong

The scream of the ambulance is sounding in my ear
Tell me, sister morphine, how long have I been lying here?
What am I doing in this place?
Why does the doctor have no face?

Oh, I can’t crawl across the floor
Can’t you see, sister morphine, I’m just trying to score

Well, it just goes to show things are not what they seem
Please, sister morphine, turn my nightmare into dreams
Oh, can’t you see I’m fading fast
And that this shot will be the last?

Sweet cousin cocaine, lay your cool hands on my head
Hey, sister morphine, you’d better make the lyin’ bed
‘Cause you know and I know in the morning I’ll be dead
And you can sit around and you can watch all the clean white sheets stain red