Monday 10th September
And of all the broken-hearted women here comes Dory Previn. She is older than most of my musical heroes. She died a few years ago aged 86. So she must have been forty when she was at her musical peak. She started in the early fifties, writing music and lyrics for films. It was there she met and married Andre Previn and together they wrote several film scores. Andre of course went on to greater things, and he also had an affair with and left Dory for Mia Farrow. Dory had a complete breakdown and after therapy she started writing and recording incredibly personal and honest emotionally raw songs. From ‘On my way to where’ to ‘Children of Co-incidence and Harp Marx’ she made six beautiful albums and then drifted off into obscurity, where her mental demons seemed to overtake her once more.
She never really got over the betrayal of her husband, and wrote several songs about it. She also wrote at length about her father, and her strange disjointed relationship with him. She left behind these six wonderful and one live album, where together we can share her lovely voice and delicate words as she sings of ‘Mythical Kings and Iguanas’ and ‘Lemon Haired Ladies’, ‘Mister Whisper’ and ‘Mary Cecilia Brown Jumping off the Hollywood Sign.’
Nobody sings, or even dares to write songs like this anymore. Maybe Laura Marling comes closest, though her words are always veiled whereas Dory hides nothing. Maybe it was her therapy, her way of working out the demons in her mind, maybe it was revenge, maybe an attempt to touch another human being, and she certainly touched me. I understand her pain, her loneliness, her reveling in her sadness, and the desperate wish for communion of some sort. She will always remain one of my all-time favourites.