Patti Smith has been one of my faves since a roommate back in the 70s once forced me (kicking and screaming) to listen to Radio Ethiopia, for which I’m now eternally grateful. Raw, immediate, surreal… yet truly real. Soon after, I discovered her first album – Horses – and I was hooked.
Patti actually created much of the groundwork for New York’s CBGB’s scene of the 70s, inspiring bands like Television, The Ramones, and Talking Heads. “Like her hero Jim Morrison she wrote absurd verses more fit for a diary than a rock ‘n’ roll record, but could also follow them with lines that genuinely terrified.” (Chris Dahlen, Pitchfork) Lovingly dubbed “Poet Laureate of Punk” by NPR, Patti layered her cutting poetry with a killer band to create a blend that continues to inspire fans and artists alike.
As I was rummaging through the library’s collection the other day, I was happy to find a copy of the Legacy Edition of Horses, the 2005 reissue of her seminal 1975 album that was named by Rolling Stone as one of the top 50 rock albums of all time. Expanded to two full discs, the 30th anniversary edition includes the original album as produced by John Cale, that’s been newly remastered by Greg Calbi with amazing results. The set includes a bonus track, Patti’s gutsy remake of My Generation (originally released as a B-side) and… a bonus live performance of Horses, recorded in its entirety at London’s Meltdown Festival in 2005. “These things, these relics, are alive in the fists of memory. We search for them in close-up as we search for our own hands in a dream.” (Patti Smith)
Just for fun, here’s an amazingly clean video from 1976 – the title track from Horses, leading into another classic remake, a cover of Hendrix’ Hey Joe from the BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test. As the commercial says… “priceless.” Enjoy.
Patti Smith “Horses”