In keeping with the age-old tradition that the week between Christmas and New Year is strictly for totally screwing off and diving down our own little musical rabbit holes, we’ve decided to take a quick look back at a classic beauty’s contribution to the music world, as well as a reinterpretation by one of our favorite bands.
Marlene Dietrich is a name largely unfamiliar to all but our grandparents’ generation, but the German-born actress cut a path of fierce independence and relentless reinvention in Hollywood at a time when women were seen but rarely heard. Her brash attitude and bold confidence directly threatened the status quo of home-bound subservience among women of the era, making waves with quotes like “Darling, the legs aren’t so beautiful, I just know what to do with them.”
Here’s a classic performance of a signature Dietrich tune, entitled Look Me Over Closely, in honor of what would’ve been her 109th birthday:
In a related note, The White Stripes stopped in to the late, great English broadcaster John Peel’s radio show back in 2001, paying tribute to Dietrich during a phenomenal performance that captured a strong sense of where the pre-Elephant era band was about to go. They covered the screen-goddess’ aforementioned gem, which you can hear below:
We’re looking forward to seeing what Jack & Meg bring to the table in 2011. In the meantime, enjoy the fond reflections of a woman the modern world could use a dose of.
“If she had nothing more than her voice she could break your heart with it. But she has that beautiful body and the timeless lovliness of her face. It makes no difference how she breaks your heart if she is there to mend it.” – Ernest Hemingway