Patti Smith

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Patti Smith (2007)

Patricia Lee "Patti" Smith (born December 30, 1946 in Chicago , Illinois , USA ) is an American poet , punk and rock musician , singer-songwriter , photographer and painter . She is considered the " Godmother of Punk ".


Patti Smith comes from a poorer family with religious ties to Jehovah's Witnesses . She finished school at the age of sixteen and then started working in a factory. At the age of eighteen, Patti Smith gave birth to a daughter who she put up for adoption. She moved to New York City , where she met the artist and Robert Mapplethorpe , who later became famous as a photographer, in the summer of 1967 , and lived with him for several years. Numerous photographs come from him, some of which were used for her later record covers.

In 1969 she began publishing her Beat Generation- influenced poetry in magazines such as Rock and Creem . Travels took her to France, where she, among other things, visited the tombs of their idols Jim Morrison and Arthur Rimbaud . Her friendship with Lenny Kaye , Sam Shepard , Todd Rundgren and Tom Verlaine (then with the proto-punk group Television ) encouraged her to do her first single, Hey Joe , in 1974 , in which Patti Smith described the then current kidnapping of Patty Hearst , the Granddaughter of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst , processed. According to her own statements, for her singing was above all an opportunity to recite her poems, as she "happened" to land in music. She sees herself primarily as a poet and writes with discipline every day.

As early as the late 1960s she had established close ties to rock musicians, especially the New York avant-garde hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult . She was in a relationship with their keyboardist Allen Lanier from 1971 to 1978 and lived with him in Manhattan on Fifth Avenue. She has provided lyrics for the group's songs for years including Baby Ice Dog , Career of Evil , The Revenge of Vera Gemini (where she recites and sings), Debbie Denise , Fire of Unknown Origin and Shooting Shark .

Patti Smith, 1976 in Copenhagen

In 1975 Horses was released , the first LP of the later Patti Smith Group with Lenny Kaye, Ivan Král , Richard Sohl and Jay Dee Daugherty. The band became the forerunner and role model of the English and American punk and new wave movement . Patti Smith also established himself as an icon of the new women's movement .

The freely associative lyric, which Patti Smith laid half breathlessly, half syncopated over seemingly primitive rock chords, gave her songs and the cover versions she chose ( Gloria by Them , My Generation by The Who ) a rebellious and nervous appeal.

The album Radio Ethiopia followed in 1976 . In 1977 Smith broke two vertebrae in a serious accident on stage and had to sit out for a while. The following year she released her only album, Easter , which was also a commercial success. The single Because The Night was released from a collaboration with Bruce Springsteen and reached number 5 in Great Britain. In 1979, Wave was their last LP for a long time.

Patti Smith in the Rosengarten (Mannheim) 1978

In the 1980s she lived with her husband, guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith ( MC5 ) and their two children in Detroit , where she worked as a bookseller. A comeback attempt with the album Dream of Life (1988) was slowed down by the death of Richard Sohl (1990) and her husband (1994). She then returned to the stage, "to earn money", according to her own statements. After 1996 and the album Gone Again , Patti Smith regularly delivered new works. In 2002 she released a cover version of the Prince song When Doves Cry , and her CD Trampin ' , released in April 2004, features the Horses line-up with Lenny Kaye and Jay Dee Daugherty. In April 2007 her album Twelve was released with twelve new recordings of rock classics such as Smells Like Teen Spirit by the band Nirvana and Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones .

The photographs that she took over decades with her vintage Polaroid Land 250 instant camera are shown at exhibitions around the world, including an exhibition with photos by Christoph Schlingensief , with whom she was friends.

The documentary feature film Dream of Life (2007) by Steven Sebring about Patti Smith's life, which she had dealt with for more than ten years, premiered at the Berlinale 2008 . The 2008 Sundance Film Festival honored the film with the “Excellence in Cinematography Award: Documentary”.

Patti Smith met Pope Francis in April 2013 on the sidelines of a general audience in St. Peter's Square . In doing so, she kept a promise she made when the Pope was elected. In 2014 she performed in the Vatican and answered the question why a singer, who started her first record with Jesus died for someone's sins, but not mine , sings in front of the Pope:

“I had a strong religious upbringing, and the first word on my first LP is Jesus. I did a lot of thinking. I'm not against Jesus, but I was 20 and I wanted to make my own mistakes and I didn't want anyone dying for me. I stand behind that 20-year-old girl, but I have evolved. I'll sing to my enemy! I don't like being pinned down and I'll do what the fuck I want, especially at my age ... oh, I hope there's no small children here! " - “I'm not against Jesus, but I was 20 and wanted to make my own mistakes and not let anyone die for me. I stand behind this 20-year-old girl, but I've developed further [...]. "

For the November 2014 film The Hunger Games - Catching Fire , Smith recorded the specially written song Capitol Letter .

In December 2016, Patti Smith accepted the Nobel Prize for Literature , on behalf of her friend Bob Dylan, in Stockholm , where she performed, among other things, Dylan's song A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall . Patti Smith then published the essay How Does It Feel in The New Yorker , in which she tells how she had to interrupt the play because she was overflowing with emotions.

Rimbaud house in Roche

In 2017 she bought the house of the French poet Arthur Rimbaud in Roche . Rimbaud grew up there and wrote his work A Time in Hell there in 1873 . Patti Smith writes in her autobiography Just Kids about Rimbaud: "I hugged him as a compatriot ... as a relative, even as a secret lover".

Picture cycle

The Swiss painter Franz Gertsch dedicated a five-part cycle of large-format, photo-realistic portraits to Patti Smith . Gertsch first met Smith at a vernissage of his Cologne gallery owner.




Studio albums

year title Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1975 Horses - - - UK-
US47 (17 weeks)
First published: December 13, 1975
1976 Radio Ethiopia - - - - -
First published: October 1976
1978 Easter DE43 (3 weeks)
- - UK16

(14 weeks)UK
US20 (23 weeks)
First published: March 3, 1978
1979 Wave DE18 (18 weeks)
AT19 (12 weeks)
- UK41 (6 weeks)
US18 (19 weeks)
First published: May 17, 1979
1988 Dream of Life DE30 (9 weeks)
AT26 (2 weeks)
CH9 (6 weeks)
UK70 (1 week)
US65 (15 weeks)
First published: June 1988
1996 Gone Again DE28 (11 weeks)
AT21 (12 weeks)
CH29 (7 weeks)
UK44 (2 weeks)
US55 (5 weeks)
First published: June 18, 1996
1997 Peace and Noise DE99 (1 week)
- - - US152 (1 week)
First published: September 30, 1997
2000 Gung Ho DE67 (4 weeks)
- CH94 (1 week)
- US179 (1 week)
First published: March 21, 2000
2004 Trampin ' DE36 (4 weeks)
AT49 (4 weeks)
CH48 (4 weeks)
UK70 (1 week)
US123 (1 week)
First published: April 27, 2004
2007 Twelve DE17 (7 weeks)
AT32 (5 weeks)
CH23 (9 weeks)
UK63 (1 week)
US60 (3 weeks)
First published: April 17, 2007
2012 Banga DE19 (8 weeks)
AT23 (5 weeks)
CH12 (9 weeks)
UK47 (2 weeks)
US57 (2 weeks)
First publication: 1. June 2012

hatched gray : no chart data available for this year


Smith with Jane Ciabattari, president of the National Book Critics Circle and author John Reed.
  • Seventh Heaven , volume of poetry, 1972.
  • A Useless Death , New York 1972
  • Kodak , Philadelphia 1972
  • Early Morning Dream  ? 1973 (limited to 100 copies)
  • Witt , volume of poetry, 1973
  • Big Mouth , in: Sam Shepard , Angel City, Curse of the Starving Class & Other Plays , New York 1976 (with Sam Shepard)
  • The Night , London 1976 (with Tom Verlaine )
  • Ha! Ha! Houdini! , Poem, 1977.
  • Babel , Collection of Poems, Prose, Lyrics and Drawings, 1978
  • Robert Mapplethorpe , New York 1987 (Editor: Patti Smith)
  • Flowers Mapplethorpe , Boston 1990 (Editor: Patti Smith)
  • Woolgathering . 1992.
  • Early Work , collection of poems (1970–1979), 1994
  • The Coral Sea , 1996.
  • Complete , song lyrics collection, 1998
  • Auguries Of Innocence , Poetry Collection, 2005
  • Just kids. The story of a friendship , autobiography, Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2010 ISBN 978-3-462-04228-3
  • M Train , autobiographical texts, with illustrations (“A roadmap to my life”). Alfred A. Knopf, New York 2015 ISBN 978-1-101-87510-0
  • Collected Lyrics 1970–2015 . Bloomsbury, London 2015 ISBN 978-1-4088-6300-8
  • Devotion (Why I Write) , Yale University Press, New Haven 2017 ISBN 978-0-300-21862-6
  • Year of the Monkey. Knopf, New York, Toronto 2019, ISBN 978-0-525-65768-2 .
    • Translated by Brigitte Jakobeit: In the year of the monkey , Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2020, ISBN 978-3-462-05384-5



  • Patti Smith - American Artist . Photographs by Frank Stefanko, foreword by Patti Smith. Large-format illustrated book, Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf Verlag, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-89602-729-0 .
  • Michael Stipe : Two Times Intro: On The Road With Patti Smith . Little, Brown and Company , 1998.
  • Nick Johnstone: Patti Smith . Palmyra, Heidelberg 1999, ISBN 3-930378-26-4 .
  • Victor Bockris: Patti Smith . Krüger, Frankfurt 2000, ISBN 3-8105-0435-1 .
  • Martin C. Strong: The Great Rock Discography . Canongate Books Ltd., Edinburgh, 6th edition 2002.
  • Simon Reynolds, Joy Press: The Sex Revolts , 1995. (Standard work on Gender, Rebellion and Rock 'n' Roll).
  • Gero von Boehm : Patti Smith. April 9, 2010 . Interview in: Encounters. Images of man from three decades . Collection Rolf Heyne, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-89910-443-1 , pp. 712-721.
  • Henning E. Kuckuk: Patti Smith's cosmopolitan voice. Performances - Networks - Autobiography. transcript Verlag, Bielefeld, 2018; Print: ISBN 978-3-8376-4417-3 , PDF: ISBN 978-3-8394-4417-7 .
  • Helene Hegemann : Patti Smith , Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2021, ISBN 978-3-462-05395-1 .


Web links

Commons : Patti Smith  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Manohla Dargis : Patti Smith: Dream of Life . In: The New York Times , The New York Times Company , August 6, 2008. Retrieved July 19, 2012. "Godmother of Punk, Celebrator of Life" 
  2. Kate Davy: Lady dicks and lesbian brothers: staging the unimaginable at the WOW Café Theater . University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor 2010, ISBN 978-0-472-07122-7 , p. 98.
  3. Patti Smith: I have a dream . In: ZEIT ONLINE . ( [accessed on August 21, 2018]).
  4. Mark Paytress, Patti Smith's Horses and the Remaking of Rock and Roll, expanded paperback 2010.
  5. ^ Patti Smith: Just Kids. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2010.
  6. I'm a late bloomer. Interview with Patti Smith in Weltwoche , 10/2016.
  7. Martin Popoff: Agents of Fortune: The Blue Öyster Cult Story, Bedford UK 2016
  8. Because the Night on . Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  9. Viennale: PATTI SMITH: 28 PHOTOGRAPHS. October 21, 2016. Retrieved June 27, 2017 .
  10. ^ Patti Smith & Christoph Schlingensief. Christoph Schlingensief estate -, accessed on October 5, 2020 .
  11. ^ Press & Industry - Sundance Film Festival. May 28, 2008, accessed June 15, 2020 .
  12. ^ Punk singer Patti Smith meets Pope Francis. April 11, 2013. Retrieved April 29, 2017 .
  13. Vivien Goldman: Patti Smith on singing at the Vatican: 'Anyone who would confine me to an old line is a fool'. The Guardian , November 18, 2014, accessed June 27, 2017 .
  14. "Hunger Games: Catching Fire": These songs are on the soundtrack! November 1, 2013, accessed April 29, 2017.
  15. ^ Nobel Prize Ceremony. Patti Smith explains her Bob Dylan breakdown. The mirror . December 15, 2016
  16. How Does It Feel
  17. Tobias Rüther: Mon Ami, go home! FAZ, June 5, 2017, accessed on June 29, 2017 .
  18. ^ Museum Franz Gertsch - exhibitions - archive - franz gertsch - patti smith. December 28, 2019, accessed February 28, 2021 .
  19. ^ Patti Smith / Museum Franz Gertsch. Retrieved February 28, 2021 (Swiss Standard German).
  20. Börsenblatt des Deutschen Buchhandels 47/2010 of November 25, 2010, p. 12.
  21. 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Rolling Stone , December 2, 2010, accessed August 7, 2017 .
  22. 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Rolling Stone , December 2, 2010, accessed August 7, 2017 .
  23. The 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time. Rolling Stone , August 2015, accessed August 7, 2017 .
  24. Annual reception for members of the Curia for Science and Art. (No longer available online.) In: Archived from the original on October 31, 2019 ; accessed on June 8, 2020 .
  25. Chart sources: DE AT CH UK US
  26. Smith's autobiography Just Kids was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2010 , see NBCC website , accessed April 4, 2020
  27. born 1955. Jakobeit in the translator database of the VdÜ , 2019
  28. The title refers to the friendship between Smith and her partner Robert Mapplethorpe and also describes the early years of her career as a visual artist.
  29. Devotion  (= Why I Write). Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn. 2017, ISBN 978-0-300-21862-6 , OCLC 989978146 . ( limited preview in Google Book search)