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Patti Smith Group

Punk rock's poet laureate Patti Smith ranks among the most influential female rock & rollers of all time. Ambitious, unconventional, and challenging, Smith's music was hailed as the most exciting fusion of rock and poetry since Bob Dylan's heyday. If that hybrid remained distinctly uncommercial for much of her career, it wasn't a statement against accessibility so much as the simple fact that Smith followed her own muse wherever it took her -- from structured rock songs to free-form experimentalism, or even completely out of music at times. Her most avant-garde outings drew a sense of improvisation and interplay from free jazz, though they remained firmly rooted in noisy, primitive, three-chord rock & roll.

Born in Chicago and raised in Philadelphia and nearby New Jersey, Smith eventually made her way to New York City, where she spent the early part of the 1970s immersed in the New York art scene, living with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe at the Chelsea Hotel and developing herself in a variety of creative mediums from poetry to painting to playwriting. By 1974, she'd begun to establish herself as a rock musician, playing shows with guitarist/bassist Lenny Kaye, then assembling what would soon become the Patti Smith Group. After Kaye, pianist Richard Sohl was the first to come on board, followed shortly after by Czechoslovakian-born guitarist/bassist Ivan Král and drummer Jay Dee Daugherty.

After independently releasing the "Hey Joe" b/w "Piss Factory" single, Patti Smith Group became the first of the CBGB-associated punk acts to score a major record deal when famed A&R man Clive Davis signed them to Arista in 1975. Released in December of that year, Horses fused Smith's unconventional post-beat poet lyrical style with a primitive rock minimalism that was striking and wholly unique. Though the album was credited to solely to Smith, the collective force of Smith, Kaye, Sohl, Král, and Daugherty together signified the stark power of the burgeoning punk movement, and by the time 1976's Radio Ethiopia arrived, it was attributed to Patti Smith Group. During a January 1977 tour date in Florida, Smith suffered a serious neck injury after falling from the stage into the concrete orchestra pit. Following a lengthy period of recovery and physical therapy, she and the group returned to produce what would be their commercial breakout in 1978's Easter. Produced by Jimmy Iovine and featuring the Bruce Springsteen co-written hit "Because the Night," Easter was widely hailed as one of the year's best albums and an artistic return to form after the somewhat difficult Radio Ethiopia. It was also notable for the absence of keyboardist Sohl, who was temporarily replaced in the studio by Bruce Brody.

As the '70s came to a close, so would the tenure of the original Patti Smith Group. Following the 1979 release of their fourth album, Wave, Smith and her newlywed husband, Fred "Sonic" Smith (MC5), relocated to Detroit, where she would spend most of the decade in semi-retirement while raising a family. Král would go on to work with Iggy Pop, compose music for a number of independent films, and record a number of solo works in his native Czech Republic. Sohl returned to record with Smith on her 1988 solo album, Dream of Life, before suffering a fatal heart attack in 1990. Since the mid-'90s, Smith's longtime creative foils Kaye and Daugherty, along with late-period bassist Tony Shanahan, have served as her primary band, and even though the Patti Smith Group name would no longer appear on album covers, they have remained her closest collaborators on-stage and in the studio. ~ Timothy Monger & Steve Huey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Wave

1. Frederick

2. Dancing Barefoot

3. So You Want To Be (A Rock 'N' Roll Star)

4. Hymn

5. Revenge

6. Citizen Ship

7. Seven Ways Of Going

8. Broken Flag

9. Wave

10. Fire Of Unknown Origin

11. 54321/Wave

x

Track List: Easter

1. Till Victory

2. Space Monkey

3. Because The Night

4. Ghost Dance

5. Babelogue

6. Rock N Roll N**ger

7. Privilige (Set Me Free)

8. We Three

9. 25th Floor

10. High On Rebellion

11. Easter

12. Godspeed (Bonus Track)

x

Track List: Radio Ethiopia

1. Ask The Angels

2. Ain't It Strange

3. Poppies

4. Pissing In A River

5. Pumping (My Heart)

6. Distant Fingers

7. Radio Ethiopia

8. Abyssinia

9. Chicklets

Comments

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77 park west, chicago.. loved the dance!
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love
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Mothers Day 1979. Tower Theater.
Best.
Concert.
Ever.
And yes, her Mom was there.
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Several years ago the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame gave the E. Street Band the Award for Musical Excellence, essentially inducting them. They should do the same for the Patti Smith Group.
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tpetrou930
Classic..... . .
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milosdad
I've seen the Dead Kennedys, the Sex Pistols, Black Flag and a bunch of other punk shows. Patti Smith was the most punk show I've ever been to. It was incendiary. (Pistols were a close second with Sid Vicious slamming his bass on a red neck's head) The vibe for Patti Smith was so authentic though. I remember the Sex Pistols show was full of posers with fake piercings and such.
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lonewolf36
I can't believe this dork mpjhny ! Are you kidding! shallow dude..
Patti Smith is more beautiful because she is the real deal! And dosen't think about fitting into a stupid pretty mold! A real artist!
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Maybe Natalie was a fan of Patti's take.
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YO! mpjhny:..... . . . . . . . . If you want some f**king kind of model to look at while she sings, try out the crap of commercial country, JACKASS. You're mom sure must be proud.
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How about a little plastic surgery Patti Smith. Jeez...
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Jesus died for someone's sins, but not mine. G-L-O-R-I-A! Thank you, Patti, and for the book as well. Fun reading.
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It's interesting that Mr. Huey feels obligated to write about all of the people Ms. Smith has slept with. He doesn't do that for male artists.
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thehiebertco
I had just moved to Denver back in the summer of 1975 when she was recording Horses at Electric Lady studios. I didn't have hardly any money so I would just prowl around the different record shops and listen to the music that they played to help promote record sales as a free form of entertainmen t . One day in early fall, one of those record shops dropped a needle down on Horses and I remember saying to myself, whoa, that doesn't sound like the version of Gloria from my youth! Then I walked ov
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In this screwed-up, superficial country, imagine how famous (read big) Patti & the band would be if she looked like these artists of the past few decades. (Are you listening Katy Perry?) ...So very sad. So, where's the poetic justice?!
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My idol, she is so inspirig and captivating. truly one of the most influetial artists in the last 50 years. she's amazing.
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I am so stoked to hear the new album Outside Society- drops 8/23!!!!!
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Springsteen did the same for Warren Zevon. He wrote "Jeannie Need a Shooter" and knew Zevon was right for it. Don't know if any money was exchanged. Class act!
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paulhenryut
I agree with Dave: Yep. I saw an interview with the Boss. He said he gave her the song. Didn't say anything about dough. He wrote it, then decided she would be the best person to deliver. That's a real songwriter.
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Imagine the world without the Patti Smith Group? It would have been such a crime for our society to not have received what this group gave us. ...and if you haven't heard Piss Factory then find it. Too bad that didn't end up on any of their commercial releases.
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milosdad
Love "Rock n Roll N**ger". This is superficial but...she has some of the darkest, most mesmerizing blue eyes I have ever seen.
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kkidruff
An informative retrospectiv e of an amazing artist and career. However, I don't think describing "Because The Night" as a collaboratio n with Bruce Springsteen is a completely correct statement. I have read many reputable sources that all agree Bruce wrote that great tune on his own and gave it to Patti with no expected financial return.
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Patti Smith is probably one of the most under rated artist in music. I have allways liked her no holds bar style.She tells it like it is. In this day of bull s**t right wing reactionary politics she has never ben afraid to go against the grain to say what she thinks. I like that.
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One of my all-time greatest concert (and post-concert ) experiences. I'll always love Patti Smith. I'll never forget the night she came onto the Orpheum stage (Boston) after doing a rainy, outdoor, afternoon show at another venue, and offering to buy back tickets from anybody worried that she wouldn't give her best performance. Nobody came forward, and she actually played clarinet for us during the intermission . She's always been the real thing - Rock Goddess and poet.
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milosdad
One of the most explosive shows I have ever been to. Came out wrapped in U.S. flag and opened w/Jesus died for somebody's.. . . . . Band kicked into high gear with Gloria and the place went nuts. To this day, one of the best shows I have ever been to. Still have Horses and Easter on Vinyl.
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Funny about the Depressed comment. To me she remains one of the most untainted idealist, and yet she is radically real something I have not found in great supply
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I was a fortunate child. At 6, I knew every song on Horses when we (my parents and I) went to see Patti Smith at Curtis Hixon Hall. Yes, I was there when she spun off the stage. Some of my happiest childhood memories are dancing around with my Mom or playing backgammon with my Dad while listening to Patti Smith. I'm no musician. I'm no poet. But because of Patti Smith, I'm not afraid to write or speak or dance or play because "in heart, I'm an American Artist...I have not sold myself to God."
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I wouldn't say she was the "voice of the depressed" - I would rather say she had a voice possessed and was the voice of the dispossessed .
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kmay63
Very talented and very underrated.
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Patti is the female version of Jim Morrison! a lil' Sid too, an angst cramp style voice, she sings with morbid energy that raised many a eye brow - who needs to be still when the world is wasting away - Patti is the voice of the depressed - the lost - the throw away society.
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If Edgar Allen Poe could find a love as unattainable as Annabelle Lee in this century, it would be Patti Smith. john hanson
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I can't believe no one has placed a comment for such a great artist like Patti Smith!
Well, all I can say that she is just inspirationa l - a true Artist.

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