Home > Biographies, Young Adult > She’s a Rainbow. The extraordinary Life of Anita Pallenberg by Simon Wells. Pub. Omnibus press, 2020.

She’s a Rainbow. The extraordinary Life of Anita Pallenberg by Simon Wells. Pub. Omnibus press, 2020.

January 12, 2021

I have read many biographies of rock “n Roll stars and actors and most scratch the surface of their lives and give you little else, but this one on Anita Pallenberg ,I think got to the core of what she was like. It is both uplifting and tragic and ultimately the story of a woman who changed the world.

She was stunningly beautiful, with long legs, blond hair and a sexy European voice who dazzled when she walked into a room. She was well educated and well read spoke French, German Italian and English and was forthright in her opinions and ambitions. Her fashion sense was second to none and her Bohemian style dominated the fashions of swinging London and helped make London the centre of the modern cultural world. She was an actress a fashion model, a designer and she turned the Rolling Stones from “a band of suburban scruffs into a new breed of dandified lions”.

She first hit the scene as the girl friend of Brian Jones and their confrontational relationship is detailed in this book. The famous incident in Morocco in which Keith Richards rescued her from Brian Jones is told from many angles but the one sure thing is that Brian Jones never recovered from the split.

Life with Richards and the Stones is detailed from many sources but the truth of it is that it was based on drug taking on a huge scale. How she and Richards survived is beyond me but read it and see for yourself.

A highlight of the book for me is the chapter on the making of the film Performance, a cult film which after 50 years has still not recovered the costs of making it. Asked what her contribution to the film was Anita said “the sex”. She was right of course, it is the only reason a watched the film which I found awful. It did however have a powerful effect on all those that were in the film or associated with the making and promotion of the film. The biggest question posed of course was “did Anta and Mick Jagger do the wild thing?”. When Mick was asked he said the suggestion was too delicious to deny.

The tragedy of Anita’s life was of course drugs. She was addicted for much of her life and they stole the humanity from her. When 17 year old Scott Cantrell shot himself in her house Anita when asked about it said “I didn’t feel anything. That’s one of the wonders of drugs and drink”

One of the best overviews of life in the rock’n roll, fashion and film making world of the 1960’s and 70’s that I have read. If you miss this one you will kick yourself.

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