14 Juin 2017
The actress, model and muse, who died on Tuesday aged 73, was the inspirational driving force behind the band in their iconic, rock ’n’ roll heyday.
Well-connected and well-educated, Anita terrified and beguiled the rock ’n’ rollers in equal measure.
Certainly, Anita was one of a kind.
While she bedded both Brian Jones and Keith, and was rumoured to have had an affair with Mick, it would be wrong to dismiss her as a groupie. As muse and critic she inspired their songs and even sang backing vocals for 1968’s Sympathy For The Devil.
Her opinion was so valued that Mick was said to have remixed tracks on the band’s 1968 album Beggars Banquet based on her feedback.
Addicted to drugs, obsessed with black magic and even implicated in the death of a teen lover, Anita had a knack for stirring things up.
Jo Bergman, the band’s personal assistant from 1967 to 1973, said at the time: “Anita is a Rolling Stone. She, Mick, Keith and Brian were the Rolling Stones. Her influence has been profound. She keeps things crazy.”
Born in German-occupied Rome in 1944, Anita was expelled from boarding school aged 16 and started modelling, moving from Italy to New York, there hanging out at artist Andy Warhol’s Factory, the place to be for arty types.
It was the start of a stormy affair and a turning point for the Stones.
In her 1994 biography Faithfull, she said: “How Anita came to be with Brian is really the story of how the Stones became the Stones. She almost single-handedly engineered a cultural revolution in London by bringing together the Stones and the jeunesse dorée (gilded youth) . . .
“This transformed the Stones from pop stars into cultural icons.”
But her relationship with Brian turned violent. On holiday in Morocco in 1967, Keith saw Brian beating up Anita. He stepped in, took her to London with him and they stayed together for the next 13 years.