Possessing something Marianne Faithfull referred to as “evil glamour,” it is easy to describe Anita Pallenberg as bewitching. The embodiment of the gypsy-esque look she is now infamous for, the Italian-born Anita has a continental style of dress and mind – reaching from Eastern, native America, European, and Asian sources to create a look unique to her. From years of alcohol, drugs, and general hard-partying, Miss Pallenberg indeed looks older than her 65 years; she has had two hip operations and walks with a limp, and also lives with hepatitis C. But I suppose this is the price one would have to pay to live a life like she has.
After being expelled from her German boarding school at sixteen, Anita spent some time in Rome, then lived in New York City and hung out with the likes of Andy Warhol, and then moved to Paris to become a model. In Munich in 1965, Anita and a friend went to a Rolling Stones concert where they managed to get backstage. This was where she first got together with Brian Jones, who she stayed with for two years. She describes their relationship as volatile, citing Jones’s paranoid and abusive nature as what led her to leave Jones for Keith Richards during a Moroccan vacation the three took in 1967.
After getting together with Keith, she ironically saw less and less of him because girls weren’t allowed in the studio or on tour while they were working. To fill the time, Pallenberg became an actress, working in films such as “Barbarella” and “Performance” (alongside Mick Jagger, who she was rumored to have an affair with during filming) and began delving into drugs such as heroin and alcoholism, a hobby she shared with close friend and Rolling Stone girlfriend Marianne Faithfull. During these years she had three children with Richards: a son Marlon in 1969, a daughter Dandelion (now Angela) in 1972, and a son Tara, born in 1976 but who passed away at only ten weeks old.
In addition to acting as a muse (at least two songs – “Angie” and “You Got the Silver” – were written about her), Anita had a considerable influence on the sound and look of the Rolling Stones. As the PA to the band in the late sixties and early 70s, Jo Bergman, said, “Anita is a Rolling Stone. She, Mick, Keith, and Brian were the Rolling Stones. Her influence has been profound. She keeps things crazy.” At her request, tracks from Beggars Banquet were remixed and her interest in occult and dark magic had a considerable influence on the Sympathy for the Devil years.
I personally admire her rich hippie style – her mix of fur coats, silk poet blouses, leather pants, bangles, bowler hats, Indian beads, gladiators all worn in an artfully haphazard way. Her kohl-rimmed eyes and messy blonde bed head has been inspirational to many; the most notable of her style protégées is Kate Moss, a friend of Miss Pallenberg’s.