Patti Smith’s Eternal Flame

Platform at the 68th Street/Lexington subway station. Gerard Malanga took it in 1971.
“‘No matter what anybody thinks about any of them,’ said Patti Smith, ‘every record I’ve done has been done with the same amount of care, anguish, pain, suffering, and joy. We never threw a record together. Each record was done really seriously, as if our life depended on it.’ In 1975, when Smith released her astonishing first album, Horses, she became the first member of the nascent CBGB crew to make it to vinyl, helping set a global revolution in motion. …”
Patti Smith’s Eternal Flame
Robert Miller Gallery: Patti Smith
NY Times: Rock Star Patti Smith, Making Paris Swoons
Voice – Patti Smith: Save This Rock and Roll Hero by Robert Christgau (1977)
[PDF] Patti Smith featured in the Janet Hamill Archive
Open Culture: Patti Smith’s Polaroids of Artifacts from Virginia Woolf, Arthur Rimbaud, Roberto Bolaño & More
Patti Smith, the Curator of Rock ‘N’ Roll (2011)
LitHub: The Moment When Punk Collided With Poetry
LitHub: Is It Still Punk When the Musician Makes It Big? by Vivien Goldman


Anarchy Around The World: Punk Goes Global

“Forty years after it officially crash-landed in our midst, it’s easy to believe punk ‘sold out’ its lofty original ideals, not least because its leading acts all eventually signed to major labels and played ball with The Man. Yet regardless of its shortcomings, punk still had a seismic global impact during the mid-to-late 70s and its legacy can still be felt in everything from its inherent DIY ethos to its (broadly) anti-sexist stance. However, while countless revisions of this flawed – yet exhilarating – period have since been published, they nearly always fix punk as a purely transatlantic phenomenon. … This is entirely understandable, as both nations have reason to claim punk as their own. In North America, the 70s had barely dawned before New York was spawning remarkable proto-punk acts such as Suicide and New York Dolls, while across 1974-76, trailblazing US refuseniks such as Pere Ubu, Patti Smith, Ramones and Blondie were already hurling out remarkable, oeuvre-defining discs. …”
uDiscover (Audio)

Dial-A-Poem Poets – Big Ego (1978)

“American label set up in 1972 by the poet John Giorno, the earliest releases were exclusively poetry collections of the ‘Dial-A-Poets’ (John Giorno, William S Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Allen Ginsberg, John Cage etc.): ‘In 1961 I was a young poet who hung out with young artists like Andy Warhol, Bob Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, as well as with members of the Judson Dance Theatre. The use of modern mass media and technologies by these artists made me realize that poetry was 75 years behind painting and sculpture, dance and music. And I thought, if they can do it, why can’t I do it for poetry. Why not try to connect with an audience using all the entertainments of ordinary life: television, the telephone, record albums, etc? It was the poet’s job to invent new venues and make fresh contact with the audience. This inspiration gave rise to Giorno Poetry Systems.’ – John Giorno”
Discogs: Various ‎– Big Ego
UbuWeb (Video)

Patti Smith Group – Full Concert – 05/11/79 – Capitol Theatre

“Personnel: Patti Smith – vocals. Lenny Kaye – guitar, vocals. Richard Sohl – keyboards. Ivan Kral – bass. Jay Dee Daugherty – drums. Setlist: 0:00:00 – Privilege (Set Me Free) 0:04:01 – Stage Banter 0:04:43 – So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star 0:12:51 – Stage Banter 0:13:52 – Dancing Barefoot 0:18:39 – I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry 0:19:24 – Redondo Beach 0:23:57 – Stage Banter 0:25:07 – Revenge (aborted) 0:28:46 – Stage Banter 0:30:06 – 5-4-3-2-1 0:32:55 – Stage Banter 0:33:45 – Citizen Ship 0:39:06 – Ask The Angels 0:42:25 – Crowd Ambience 0:43:19 – Poppies 0:53:31 – Lenny Kaye Intro 0:55:44 – Secret Agent Man 0:58:16 – Wave (incomplete) 1:00:22 – Revenge (take 2) 1:05:53 – Stage Banter 1:06:54 – Pumping (My Heart) 1:10:55 – Mr. Tambourine Man 1:14:34 – Broken Flag 1:19:45 – Stage Banter 1:20:59 – Till Victory 1:24:25 – Ain’t It Strange 1:34:42 – Cold Turkey 1:38:56 – Because The Night 1:42:40 – Stage Banter 1:43:15 – Frederick 1:49:12 – Seven Ways Of Going 1:56:55 – Stage Banter 1:57:36 – Gloria 2:03:39 – Encore Applause 2:07:14 – Pledge of Allegiance / Star Spangled Banner / My Generation 2:15:15 – feedback / crowd ambience”
YouTube: Full Concert – 05/11/79 – Capitol Theatre

This Is His Music

“The jazz world came out last week to mourn the loss of Ornette Coleman, the  saxophonist, band leader, and composer, who died on Thursday at the age of 85. Coleman was lauded as a rule-breaker and visionary who, despite initially hostile reactions from many of his peers, moved jazz past bebop conventions and into the ‘free’ explorations of the 1960s and beyond. Without Coleman, John Coltrane’s final years might have sounded very different, as would Miles Davis’ electric period, and the entire free-improvisation world down to today. … What helped make Coleman more broadly significant is that his revolution radiated beyond the boundaries of jazz to young seekers through the decades in every musical form. Musicians are widely aware of this, as reflected in the list of performers at a tribute concert in Brooklyn in 2014 that would turn out to be his last performance, who included Patti Smith, Laurie Anderson, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Nels Cline of Wilco, members of Morocco’s Master Musicians of Jajouka, and even Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. But non­–jazz listeners tend to be less cognizant of it. …”
Slate (Video)

The Poetry Project’s Half-Century of Dissent

“February 10, 1971, on a Wednesday night in the East Village, a full moon glowed in the wintry sky over St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery. Inside, a group of New York’s most cutting-edge scene-makers gathered at the Poetry Project to hear a reading by poet and Warhol aide-de-camp Gerard Malanga. Andy was there, as was Lou Reed, along with poets Gregory Corso, John Giorno, Joe Brainard, and Bernadette Mayer. First up that night was a dark-eyed, lanky young poetess by the name of Patti Smith. An up-and-coming playwright named Sam Shepard, with whom she’d recently become involved, was there in support, as was her closest friend and collaborator, Robert Mapplethorpe. Smith knew she didn’t just want to read that night; rather, she wanted to electrify the audience with poems that possessed the power of rock ‘n’ roll. She invited the guitarist Lenny Kaye to play while she recited, and she decided to sing a few songs as well, including a cover of ‘Mack the Knife,’ in honor of Bertolt Brecht’s birthday. …”

Patti Smith’s Most Notable New York City Gigs

“New York City has been home base to Patti Smith and her band since the very beginning. The Patti Smith Group — the ‘group’ qualifier was added at Patti’s insistence not long after she was signed by Arista, to try to counteract the label’s immediate Seventies instinct to soften her image — was always a live band. That’s probably because Patti herself was always about performing in front of people no matter what shape her art was taking at any particular moment. She enlisted Lenny Kaye to accompany her at her earliest stage performance and kept coming back to their duo until she felt like she got it right, and then kept adding to that combination as she built the band, piece by piece. … She could woodshed here to get ready for a tour, or try out new ideas and know there would be a receptive audience; she’s played shows in clubs and churches, theaters and cabarets, university auditoriums and museums, private lofts and rooftop bars. …”
Voice (Video)

Horses – Patti Smith (1975)

Horses is the debut studio album by American musician Patti Smith, released on November 10, 1975, on Arista Records. Smith, a fixture of the then-burgeoning New York punk rock music scene, began recording Horses with her band in 1975 after being signed to Arista Records, with John Cale being enlisted to produce the album. With its fusion of simplistic rock and roll structures and Smith’s freeform, Beat poetry-infused lyrics, Horses was met with widespread critical acclaim upon its initial release. … Reflecting Smith’s background as a poet, the album’s lyrics channel the French Symbolism movement, incorporating influences from the works of Charles Baudelaire, William Blake, and Smith’s lifelong idol Arthur Rimbaud, and recall the ‘revolutionary spirit’ of Rimbaud and resonate with the energy of Beat poetry, according to CMJs Steve Klinge. … Upon initial release, Horses was met with near-universal acclaim from music critics and publications. In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, John Rockwell wrote that Horses is ‘wonderful in large measure because it recognizes the over-whelming importance of words’ in Smith’s work, covering a range of themes ‘far beyond what most rock records even dream of’, and highlighted Smith’s adaptations of rock standards as the most striking songs on the record. In Creem, Lester Bangs wrote that Smith’s music ‘in its ultimate moments touches deep wellsprings of emotion that extremely few artists in rock or anywhere else are capable of reaching’, and declared that with ‘her wealth of promise and the most incandescent flights and stillnesses of this album she joins the ranks of people like Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, or the Dylan of ‘Sad Eyed Lady‘ and Royal Albert Hall.”‘ …”
Genius (Audio)
Interview: Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe
Salon – “A season in Hell”: The making of Patti Smith’s “Horses”
The Story of Patti Smith ‘Horses’
YouTube: Redondo Beach – Stockholm, Free Money – Stockholm, Horses Land – Stockholm, Gloria LIVE 1976 (Reelin’ In The Years Archive), Horses & Hey Joe, Kimberly – Vienna
YouTube: Horses (full album)

1976 Film Blank Generation Documents CBGB Scene with Patti Smith, The Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie & More

“Fans of bratty New York punk-turned-serious writer Richard Hell or schlocky German horror director Ulli Lommel or—why not—both, will likely know of Lommel’s 1980 Blank Generation, a film unremarkable except for its casting of Hell and his excellent Voidoids as feature players. (Their debut 1977 album and single are also called Blank Generation.) The movie, as a reviewer puts it, ‘seems as if each member of the production was under the impression they were working on a different film than the rest of their collaborators…. You can’t help but think that something more watchable could be produced out of the raw footage with a good editor.’ One might approach an earlier film, also called Blank Generation—the raw 1976 documentary about the budding New York punk scene above—with similar expectations of coherent production and narrative clarity. But this would be mistaken. …”
Open Curture (Video)
W – The Blank Generation
Voice: Punk Icon Richard Hell Looks Back at “Blank Generation” Forty Years Later

Patti Smith – Hey Joe (Version) / Piss Factory (1974)

“Patti Smith’s ‘Piss Factory’ was in many ways the punk rock shot heard around the world. In 1974, as the New York Dolls were falling apart, the CBGB’s scene was just beginning to incubate, the Ramones were starting to come together, the Sex Pistols and the Damned were learning glam rock covers, and Richard Hell was ripping up his shirts, Smith and three musician friends — Lenny Kaye and Tom Verlaine on guitars, and Richard Sohl on piano — walked into Electric Ladyland studios in New York to set two of Smith’s poems to music during an hour of studio time paid for by Smith’s close friend, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Smith and Mapplethorpe then pressed and distributed a single of the two songs cut in that hour, and if the results didn’t sound like what came to be known as ‘punk rock,’ their daring and audacity set them apart from anything else on the rock scene at the time, and Smith’s willingness to seize the means of production was a crucial early salvo in the DIY revolution punk would help to spawn. ‘Piss Factory’ was a vivid bit of post-beat poetry in which Smith half sang, half spoke a claustrophobic rant about a horrible job she held while growing up in New Jersey. Smith made the heat, boredom, tension, and fights with her older co-workers seem as real and as hurtful as a car wreck, while Sohl’s bop-influenced piano drove the verse along with a sure and potent power. At the song’s end, Smith promises to herself that she’ll never go back to the blue-collar trap, declaring, ‘I’m gonna get on that train and go to New York City/And I’m gonna be somebody/I’m gonna be so big!’ Seventeen years later, Patti read “Piss Factory” to kick off a rare public performance, held to benefit AIDS-related charities; after she read the final line, Smith looked up from her pages, and with a quiet smile that betrayed the cocky kid still lurking inside her, said, ‘And that’s just what I did.'”
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: Piss Factory, Hey Joe