The Ballad of Lucy Jordan
"The Ballad of Lucy Jordan" is a song by American poet and songwriter Shel Silverstein. It was originally recorded by Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show, with the name spelled "Jordon". The song describes the disillusionment and mental deterioration of a suburban housewife.
Marianne Faithfull version
In 1979, the song was also recorded by the English singer Marianne Faithfull. Taken from her 1979 album Broken English, it was released as a single in October 1979 and has become one of her highest charted songs. It is featured on the soundtracks to the films Montenegro, Tarnation and Thelma & Louise. Faithfull also performed the song during a guest appearance in the episode "Donkey" from the fourth season of Absolutely Fabulous, in which God (Faithfull) sings the song in a dream to a miserable, dieting Edina. In 2016, the Faithfull version was used in the finale of American Horror Story: Hotel.
In an interview on ITV's The South Bank Show aired on 24 June 2007, Faithfull said that her interpretation was that Lucy climbs to the rooftop but gets taken away by "the man who reached and offered her his hand" in an ambulance ("long white car") to a mental hospital, and that the final lines ("At the age of thirty-seven she knew she'd found forever / As she rode along through Paris with the warm wind in her hair ...") are actually in her imagination at the hospital. Thelma and Louise has a similar fatalistic theme.
Other cover versions
- 1976: Lee Hazlewood, on his album 20th Century Lee
- 1980: Ruthi Navon
- 1996: Belinda Carlisle, on her album A Woman and a Man
- 1996: Barra MacNeils, on their album The Question
- 2000: Dennis Locorriere, on his album Out of the Dark (as the singer for Dr. Hook, he performed on the original version of the song)
- 2003: Liv Marit Wedvik, on her album Then He kissed Me
- 2004: Patricia O'Callaghan, on her album Naked Beauty
- 2005: Bobby Bare, on his album The Moon Was Blue
- 2007: Nicki Gillis, on her album Lucy's Daughter (a remixed version appears on her 2011 album Woman of Substance)
- 2009: Wiwa, Swedish pop duo
- 2010: Lucinda Williams, on the Shel Silverstein tribute album Twistable Turnable Man