|Written by Jaan Uhelszki|
|Tuesday, 08 May 2007|
Rock's First Lady
Patti Smith is more prophet than poet, more citizen than rock star, an iconic artist who insists that she doesn’t even have a career, despite her recent induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame last March.
Smith has been contemplating since she was a toddler. “I’ve known I was going to be a big shot since I was four,” she said back in 1976. “I just didn’t know it had anything to do with my throat.”
She might have had a hint during her brief but brutal stint working at a toy factory—the experience that inspired “Piss Factory”—followed by two years at New Jersey’s Glassboro Teachers College, saving up enough money for her escape from the Garden State into what she saw as the true paradise: New York. When she moved to Manhattan in 1967, Smith hedged her bets, explaining to intimates that she intended to become an artist’s mistress—a respectable endeavor for a girl in those less enlightened times, despite her own prodigious talents.
Following Horses, Smith released a new album nearly every year—the experimental Radio Ethiopia (1976), the bittersweet Easter (1978), and the spiritually imbued Wave (1979)—despite a near-fatal accident when she plummeted from a Florida stage and injured her neck in 1977. Her first four albums have influenced musicians-cum-spiritual descendents like Michael Stipe, Courtney Love, Bono, PJ Harvey and Jeff Buckley. And while she always claimed she was “beyond gender and outside of society,” she did more for the women’s movement by showing that she could rock as hard as any man, spitting out her vituperous lyrical missives that rivaled anything that Dylan ever scribbled on the back of a cocktail napkin.
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 08 May 2007 )|
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
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