The first time I heard Dory Previn , my mind was blown. Who was this mystical woman? When I got her biographical details, the music all made sense. After a traumatizing childhood (her father, suffering from the results of gassing during WWI, was extremely depressed and paranoid- he held his family captive at gunpoint for several weeks), she began writing, acting, and modeling. After the release of her first album, she became acquainted with the composer Andre Previn, whom she married. They wrote music together (Theme to Valley of The Dolls, anyone?) but the marriage was rocky. Dory suffered from depression, and Andre fell for Mia Farrow (she must have been pretty seductive, though I can’t see it. I mean, Sinatra was nuts for her. Personally, I find her rather annoying. How could Sinatra go from Ava Gardner, arguably the sexiest woman who ever existed, to Mia Farrow, perpetual child?). Anyway, it was with Previn that Mia Farrow began assembling her massive family,which included adopting Woody Allen’s wife. Here she is with Previn and their first set of twins.
After the divorce from Previn, Dory entered a rough period of questionable psychiatric care (electroconvulsive therapy). Dory then turned to song again to work out the kinks of her life. This is where Dory’s real music career began. Life wasn’t over yet.
The 45-year-old began recording stark, confessional albums. Hiding behind the groovy sunglasses was a woman scarred and scorned, a brilliant songwriter with acerbic lyrics of disappointment in humanity. We’re all a bunch of assholes, it’s in our nature. And the world is going to get blown up soon, by the way. Just saying.
Here are a couple of Dory tracks, from her two 1971 releases (she had a lot to say that year) Mythical Kings and Iguanas and Confessions In a Mud Puddle.
“Lady With The Braid” is pure, unadulterated desperation. Please sleep over, please don’t go. I’m living in a mad house.
It doesn’t get tighter lyrically than “Doppelganger.” You know where she’s going with it the whole time, yet the bomb she drops at the end is still chilling.
Dory is still around. I’d like to see here rise from the ashes again, and condemn us all.