October 23, 2012


Patricia Lee "Patti" Smith was born December 30, 1946. she is an American singer-songwriter, poet and visual artist, who became a highly influential component of the New York City punk rock movement with her 1975 debut album Horses.
Smith grew up in straitened economic circumstances – her mother was a waitress and her father worked in a factory, assembling thermostats, jobs that provided just enough, and sometimes not enough, to feed four children. But there were always books, music, and as much art as they could afford. Her father "would take Socrates to the factory with him" and read Plato aloud over dinner, while her mother made meatball sandwiches; her mother had sung in nightclubs in the 30s, and loved opera, and the emerging glimmerings of rock'n'roll.
When, in the late 60s and early 70s, Patti Smith was working in bookstores in New York, often having to choose between art supplies and lunch, she stacked National Book Award-winning books on shelves, wrapped them up for customers, sold them. And as she did so, she told a rapt audience last November, choking up with tears, "I dreamed of having a book of my own, of writing one that I could put on a shelf"; she hardly dreamed of having a National Book award of her own as well.via
Called the "Godmother of Punk",her work was a fusion of rock and poetry. Smith's most widely known song is "Because the Night", which was co-written with Bruce Springsteen and reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1978. In 2005, Patti Smith was named a Commander of theOrdre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture, and in 2007, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On November 17, 2010, she won the National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids. via
Horses, as well as regularly being cited as one of the best debut albums ever, had a cover photo taken by Mapplethorpe that became an instant classic. "It was the most electrifying image I'd ever seen of a woman of my generation," Camille Paglia once said. It "immediately went up on my wall, as if it were a holy icon. It symbolised for me not only women's new liberation but the fusion of high art and popular culture." The trouble was, Smith's motivations were never to stand for anything but herself, particularly not any political movement, however worthy. She continued to explore wordscapes and the soundscapes that might make them live; her accidental career gave her choices, and the freedom to travel. But it didn't give her, eventually, the satisfaction or integrity she craved. So she left – she met Fred Smith, married him, and moved to suburban Detroit, becoming a non-driver (she is too dyslexic) stranded in a land of cars. "That's where he wanted to live," she told an interviewer some years ago. "He was the man."
After her husband's death, she had to perform again, to support her children – and many people rallied to help her: her lawyer found her children a place at a progressive private school, Michael Stipe, who credits Horses with beginning his career, found her a house, Bob Dylan asked her to play with him, Ann Demeulemeester gave her clothes. Now, increasingly, she works with her children – her son is a guitarist and married to Meg White of the White Stripes; the evening before we met she did a gig with her daughter, a composer. via
heres to punk! enjoy!