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About Patti Smith
Born in 1946 in Chicago and raised in New Jersey, Patti Smith moved to New York City at the age of 20 where she befriended the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. A trip to Paris with her sister inspired her to begin working as a performing artist and busker and she quickly became part of the Hotel Chelsea set, hanging out at Max’s Kansas City and CBGBs which became home to New York’s burgeoning punk scene. With interests including writing, performing, acting and painting, Patti worked on collaborations with Wayne County, Sam Shepherd and wrote and performed with Blue Oyster Cult. In 1974 she formed the Patti Smith Group and soon after the release of their first single, Hey Joe, the band was signed to Arista Records which went on to release her iconic album Horses in 1975.
Horses is credited with helping to ignite the New York punk scene and Patti Smith is often referred to as the Godmother of Punk. The album had punk, jazz and spoken word elements and was itself partly influenced by peer bands such as Blondie and The Ramones. Time Magazine listed it in 2006 as one of the All-Time 100 Greatest Albums. Easter, released in 1978, brought Patti Smith into the mainstream thanks to the massive commercial success of the single Because the Night. The song was co-written by Bruce Springsteen and reached number five in the UK singles charts and number 16 in the Irish singles charts.
Retiring from the music business in 1980 Patti was tempted back into the studio in 1988 to record her first solo album, Dream of Life. Since then she has gone on to release several further albums as well as collaborating with other performers such as Michael Stipe. She has toured extensively, including a collaborative tour with Bob Dylan in 1996. In 2007 she received an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Many artists credit Patti Smith as a musical influence, including Madonna, Michael Stipe of R.E.M., KT Tunstall, Marilyn Manson and Courtney Love. She has written an autobiography, had her artwork publicly exhibited and supported a number of causes with appearances in support of peace and green issues. She has also turned her hand to acting and photography with great success and has delivered a literary lecture on Rimbaud, an interest she has maintained since her earliest years.