Roll in the Satin Sheets

In 1730, a Parisian prophetess told a nine-year-old girl that she would rule the heart of a king.  Years later, at a masked ball held to celebrate the marriage of the Dauphin Louis Ferdinand, Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, dressed as a domino, danced with King Louis XV, who was known as Louis the Beloved and he was dressed as a tree.  The King was smitten with her and brought her to the Palace of Versailles that same year, providing her with an apartment just above his own, and the delicate beauty was given the title Marquise de Pompadour.  It is said that any man would have wanted her as his mistress.  A secret staircase allowed the monarch to access his mistress’s apartment without being seen.  The couple indulged in their love of art, furniture, and porcelain, with Madame de Pompadour arranging for her jaded royal lover small dinner parties and amateur theatricals in which she would star of course.  While watching her acting in a play, Louis XV declared, “You are the most delicious woman in France”, and then he swept her out of the room.

Madame de Pompadour was more than just the beautiful and adored mistress of King Louis XV, as she was his friend and advisor and she remained with him for 22 years until her death in 1764.   For her Louis XV commissioned the Petit Trianon, which became a private haven of peace.  Her bourgeois, non-aristocratic roots, soon drew harsh criticism from certain members of the nobility in this tense political climate.  By being in close proximity to the king on a daily basis, royal mistresses held a unique position of influence that rivaled even the king’s most trusted ministers.  The court of Louis XV was a generation away from the French Revolution, and Louis XV’s reign is remembered for France laying many of the seeds of that started the revolution, and the King’s favored mistress drew extra criticism for that.  She shouldered much of the blame for France’s failure in the Seven Years War and for the court running into debt.

At the French court, extramarital activities of the royals were common place and married people hopped into bed with one another feeling free of guilt and free of consequences and women tolerated their husbands having affairs, they actually expected them to enjoy sex with others, then move on and there would be no hard feelings.  Many women would do almost anything to remain pleasing in the eyes of their powerful lovers.  Prostitution is said to be the oldest profession in history, but maintaining the position as the chief mistress of a monarch may have been a close second.  Back in the day, a king could merrily lift the skirts of basically any woman (or man) in court, so the female who captured his attention had to possess more than just beauty, she also needed charm, wit, grace, intelligence, and the ability to foresee what her petulant lover might want next.

While kings were often out amusing themselves with other women, mistresses were expected to wait quietly in their apartments, embroidering or planning a gala dinner to entertain their roving lover.  Unlike the queen whose position was cast in stone, the mistress’s world was made of flimsier stuff, since having a mistress was a sign that a king wasn’t a one-woman man, some kings weren’t even a one-mistress man.  There would always be a rival for the king’s attention and she would have no peace, no rest, if she hoped to maintain her status, wealth, and influence.  And given the magnificence of her position, there was very little she wouldn’t do to hold on to the shiny prize of the king’s attention.  Madame de Pompadour molded herself into his perfect mate, even at the expense of her own joy and comfort, fulfilling her role required her to pander to her impulsive lover in every way and tailor her very existence to ensure his pleasure, who had a voracious sexual appetite and wanted to roll in the satin sheets several times a day.

Today is choose your own love theme on Love Is In Da Blog and I selected Louis XV of France and Madame de Pompadour and I am going with The Cure ‘Love Song’, or ‘Lovesong’.  This song was written by Robert Smith and released on Cure’s epic eighth studio album Disintegration, which is considered to be among the band’s gloomiest and doomiest, however this song became the band’s sweetest and most commercially successful singles.  Robert Smith is famous for wearing make-up, having big hair, and writing and singing some of the loveliest songs in the English language.  Smith set the trend for spiky hair and wearing eyeliner and a dash of crimson lipstick, however it never caught on with me.  The Cure’s 1989 Disintegration became the culmination of all of Smith’s stylistic experiments, being simultaneously gorgeous and raw, melancholy and exuberant, grandiose and intimate and that transformed the Cure into stadium headliners.

Smith met Mary Poole when he was just 14 years old at St. Wilfrid’s Comprehensive School in Crawley, England, and he asked her to be his partner in a drama-class project.  Mary lacked confidence in his future as a musician and that instilled in Smith the drive to make the Cure (originally the Easy Cure) successful.  Mary Poole used to work as a model in the initial days of her career.  She then took to nursing disabled and special children.  But both of them were working and they did not get enough time to spend together.  Once Robert became an established name in the music industry and finances started flowing in, Mary gave up her career to be with Robert always.

Robert Smith at 16-year-old, along with Mary Poole started following Alex Harvey in 1973 to virtually all of his shows in the south of England, as Harvey was the forerunner of the punk movement, the guy who was punk before there was such a thing as punk.  The Cure are an English rock band formed in Crawley, West Sussex in 1976.  The band has experienced several line-up changes, with frontman, vocalist, guitarist and principal songwriter Robert Smith being the only constant member.  The Cure first began releasing music in the late 1970s with its debut album Three Imaginary Boys (1979); this, along with several early singles, placed the band as part of the post-punk and New Wave movements that had sprung up in the wake of the punk rock revolution in the United Kingdom.  During the early 1980s, the band’s increasingly dark and tormented music helped form the gothic rock genre.

The song was a rare upbeat moment in the band’s repertoire of gothic dread.  And almost 15 years after they met, a very successful Robert penned ‘Lovesong’ as his wedding present for Mary.  The two exchanged vows on Aug. 13, 1988, and are still together, their rock ‘n’ roll marriage bucking the odds and showing no signs of, well, disintegrating.  Smith was constantly touring with the band and he wanted his wife to know that no matter how much he had to travel and perform, he would always love her.  Robert said that he was finally able to reach the point where he felt comfortable singing a very straightforward love song.  Robert said that Mary means so much to him that he doesn’t think she has ever realized how dependent he has been of her during all these years that they have been together.  He feels that she is the one that saved him when he was being self-destructive, and she’s always been the one that has caught him when he was close to falling apart completely, and if she would have disappeared, he would have killed himself.

Cure lead singer Robert Smith wrote this as a wedding present for his fiancée, Mary Poole, shortly before they got married.  Smith has remained steadfast in his devotion to Mary, and he credits her with saving his life by pulling him out of the abyss when he was pushing himself to see how far he could go.  Although ‘Love Song’, was a hit, Disintegration as a whole wasn’t a very lovey-dovey album, it was actually a concerted effort to return to the more claustrophobically depressing, and presumably less mainstream, sound of the Cure’s earlier material.  The recording of Disintegration was plagued by Robert’s preoccupation with his looming 30th birthday, by his discomfort with his increasing fame, by his regular LSD use, and by original member Lol Tolhurst’s alcohol abuse.  This was not a shiny happy pop album.  And yet somehow, ‘Lovesong’ met unexpected success.  The Cure were just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019 (40 years after the release of their first album).

Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am home again
Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am whole again

Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am young again
Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am fun again

However far away
I will always love you
However long I stay
I will always love you
Whatever words I say
I will always love you
I will always love you

Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am free again
Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am clean again

However far away
I will always love you
However long I stay
I will always love you
Whatever words I say
I will always love you
I will always love you

Written for Love Is In Da Blog 2021 Great Love Stories where today you can choose your own love theme.

19 thoughts on “Roll in the Satin Sheets

  1. interesting story about the french. I have been a fan of the Cure for a long time, love that song… around that time , or just before (when he got back together with his school crush Mary) he’d become a lot happier and their music lost a good deal of its gloom – not a bad thing, nor necessarily a good thing, but a noticeable change. I think the look of Edward Scissorhands was somewhat based on Smith and his hair and makeup

    Liked by 1 person

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