- NAME: Patti Smith
- OCCUPATION: Songwriter, Singer, Poet
- BIRTH DATE: December 30, 1946 (Age: 66)
- Did You Know?: Patti Smith had an almost two-month residency at CBGB in 1975.
- Did You Know?: The song "Piss Factory," which is widely considered the first true punk song, was about Patti Smith's first job at a toy factory.
- EDUCATION: Rowan University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Chicago, Illinois
- Full Name: Patricia Lee Smith
- AKA: Patti Smith
- Nickname: The Godmother of Punk
- ZODIAC SIGN: Capricorn
Best Known For
Patti Smith is a highly influential figure in the New York City punk rock scene, starting with her 1975 album Horses. Her biggest hit is the single "Because the Night."
Patti Smith - Mini Biography (3:27)
A short biography of Patti Smith whose career began with her spoken poetry. A fixture of the New York underground art scene, her debut album "Horses" combined poetry and punk rock.
Clive Davis, author of "The Soundtrack of My Life," recalls when he signed musical legends Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, and Patti Smith. Video courtesy of Simon & Schuster.
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The album was a commercial disappointment despite including one of Smith's most iconic singles, "People Have the Power."
When Fred "Sonic" Smith died of a heart attack in 1994—the last in a series of many close friends and collaborators of Smith's who passed away in quick succession—it finally provided Patti Smith the impetus to revive her music career. She achieved a triumphant return with her 1996 comeback album Gone Again, featuring the singles "Summer Cannibals" and "Wicked Messenger."
Since then, Smith has remained a prominent fixture of the rock music scene with her albums Peace and Noise (1997), Gung Ho (2000) and Trampin' (2004), all of which were highly praised by music critics, proving Smith's ability to reshape her music to speak to a new generation of rock fans. Her 2007 album, Twelve, featured Smith's take on a dozen rock classics including "Gimme Shelter," "Changing of the Guards" and "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Smith followed with the critically acclaimed Banga (2012), proving that after 35 years of music and 11 album, she still has plenty to say.
One of the pioneers of punk rock music, a trailblazer who redefined the role of female rock stars, a poet who unleashed her lyrical talent over powerful guitars, Patti Smith stands out as one of the greatest figures in the history of rock 'n' roll. After four decades, Smith finds her continued motivation to write and make music in the unfairly shortened lives of her loved ones and the needs of her children.
"The people I lost all believed in me and my children needed me, so that's a lot of reasons to continue, let alone that life is great," she says. "It's difficult but it's great and every day some new, wonderful thing is revealed. Whether it's a new book, or the sky is beautiful, or another full moon, or you meet a new friend—life is interesting."
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The DIY aspect of punk rock made it easier for a woman such as Siouxsie Sioux, Deborah Harry, Marianne Faithfull and Kim Deal to find a place in music. "That was the beuty of the punk thing," Chrissie Hynde later said. "[Sexual] discrimination didn't exist in that scene."
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