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

Hear Patti Smith Read 12 Poems From Seventh Heaven, Her First Collection (1972)

“So it’s National Poetry Month, and the Academy of American Poets recommends 30 Ways to Celebrate, including some old standbys like memorizing a poem, reading a poem a day, and attending a reading. All sensible, if somewhat staid, suggestions (I myself have been re-reading all of Wallace Stevens’ work—make of that what you will). Here’s a suggestion that didn’t make the list: spend some time digging the poetry of Patti Smith. A living breathing legend, Smith doesn’t appear in many academic anthologies, and that’s just fine. What she offers are bridges from the Beats to the sixties New York art scene to seventies punk poetry and beyond, with spandrels made from French surrealist leanings and rock and roll obsessions. A 1977 Oxford Literary Review article aptly describes Smith in her heyday: In the late sixties and early seventies Patti Smith was a member of Warhol’s androgynous beauties living under the fluorescent lights of New York City’s Chelsea Hotel…Her performances were sexual bruisings with the spasms of Jagger and the off-key of Dylan. Her musical poems often came from her poetical fantasies of Rimbaud. … Emily Dickenson she ain’t, but Smith also has an abiding love and respect for her literary forebears, whether now-almost-establishment figures like Virginia Woolf or still-somewhat-outré characters like Antonin Artaud and Jean Genet. Smith’s first published collection of poetry, Seventh Heaven, appeared in 1972 and included tributes to Edie Sedgwick and Marianne Faithfull. She dedicated the book to gangster writer Mickey Spillane and Rolling Stones’ muse, and partner of both Brian Jones and Keith Richards, Anita Pallenberg. …”
Open Culture (Video)
W – Seventh Heaven (poetry collection)
“Sexual Bruisings: The Poetry of Patti Smith,” by Kate Ballen, Oxford Literary Review, 1977