Elizabeth Winder introduces us to the four women who inspired, styled, wrote for, remixed, and ultimately helped create the legend of the Rolling Stones. Marianne Faithfull, Marsha Hunt, Bianca Jagger, and Anita Pallenberg put the glimmer in the Glimmer Twins and taught a group of straight-laced boys to be bad. They opened the doors to subterranean art and alternative lifestyles, turned them on to Russian literature, occult practices, and LSD. They connected them to cutting edge directors and writers, won them roles in art house films that renewed their appeal. They often acted as unpaid stylists, providing provocative looks from their personal wardrobes. They remixed tracks for chart-topping albums, and sometimes even wrote the actual songs. More hip to the times than the rockers themselves, they consciously (and unconsciously) kept the band current with that mythic lasting power they still have today.
Parachute Women is the first to narrativize the collective experiences of the consorts and wives who shaped the musicians. Winder spotlights how the vast influence of these women on the Stones has largely been hidden in the shadow of the band’s monolithic mythos ... A step toward according these women their rightful place in music culture ... Chapter after chapter, Winder shows how these four women persevered, in the face of indignity and trauma ... It’s a grim indictment of the band and their enabling coterie. Winder is deeply empathetic to these women, and her disgust for the band and their yes men is plain, but she is hardly a critical biographer; she leaves the reader to draw their own judgments ... A welcome reprieve from the typical Stones hagiography, which casts Mick and Keef as self-made gods ... A valiant start.