In 1971, Patti's voice appeared in a short film called Robert Having
his Nipple Pierced. The "Robert" in question is her friend
and co-conspirator Robert Mapplethorpe, renowned photographer.
A production still emerged from it
featuring a bare-breasted woman, who looks very much like
Patti Smith, who has Robert's arm draped over her shoulder.
Warning: Both Robert and his woman friend are shirtless. Just don't
go there if this shocks you.
An early supporter of Patti's, Lisa Robinson
wrote a quick blurb about Patti's one-time transformation into
an Alphabet City Edith Piaf in a 1974 edition of
Eleganza, her column in Creem magazine. (Picture included)
A personal favorite of my shopping finds from recent
years is a copy of this Sire Records
sampler, a 1978 promo LP issued in the UK
which features Patti's version of Hey Joe
from the A-side of her first single, originally
released in 1974 independently by her friend
Robert Mapplethorpe. Sire reissued the single
in Europe in 1977, after Patti gained some
international notoriety, but in later
years, on CD compilations such as
Sire's Just Say Yesterday and
ROIR's The Great Singles Scene only the
B-side (Piss Factory) was ever available.
Two articles by Charles Shaar Murray which originally appeared
in the NME. One is a review of
a 1975 CBGB's show and the second is a
longer piece published in '76 which includes face time with Patti.
Two 1975 conversations with Lisa Robinson were cobbled
together to assemble this
interview-like story, which
is just an introductory paragraph, followed by
lots of free-floating Patti at her best. This
Hit Parader story
was called Patti Smith talks better
about her thoughts than anybody.
Remember the Creem Dreem?
Well, Patti once had the honor. See Patti
in a Stooges album cover.
On the way up...
This mass-market magazine feature
(a publication called In the Know??) displays
Patti's acumen and self-promotional savvy.
She always knew her audience, and this is
a prime example. Even if you're not
interested in her over-the-top pronouncements,
check out the image of all the PSG in
a big ol'bed, monkeying around. Those goofy guys!!
The top of this article features Patti complaining about
the butchering done to her first Arista
in the UK, "Gloria"/"My Generation"
..and down again
While opening for Bob Seger in Florida in 1976, Patti
got carried away during "Ain't It Strange" and whirled
her way (like a dervish, natch) to a concrete floor. The recovery
was neither straightforward nor easy. This
53K black and white .GIF
of Patti doing physical therapy paints
a thousand words.
Post-recovery, the PSG played some
scattered dates including a CBGB's engagement
free outdoor concert in Philadelphia on Labor Day
Right before heading back into the
studio to record Easter, the PSG
played a planetarium benefit
in New York City.
Patti thought it would be a good idea to open with a reading
of "yum yum the stars are out".
Patti weaves an autobiographical
tale of a trip to Cologne in the Fall of 1977
into her review of David
Bowie's "Heroes" album. This originally appeared
in Hit Parader magazine in 1978.
Back with a new album (Easter) which was getting
the full star treatment from Arista's PR machine (here's
an example of a full-page ad) Patti was
pushing a new book of poetry, Babel. Among the
promotional duties was interviews with local press people,
and this 1978 story from the Philadelphia
Inquirer is filled with her ruminating
on her local connections
Circus Magazine, one of the longest-running glossy
rock magazines, ran a positive story about her
career upswing shortly after the
release of Easter (even dutifully referring to
Allen Lanier as Patti's roommate). Written by
longtime supporter Fred Schrurers, Patti cuts loose on a lot
of topics. Severely edited, but still a great picture of
her obvious enthusiasm.
Mr. Schrurers raved about
the Easter album in
his review for Circus.
Lisa Robinson continued with unwavering
support. A series of 1978 stories and interviews
were dutifully published in her magazine Hit Parader,
am one of the best dressers in rock and roll",
Patti Smith Communicates, and
an interview with Lenny Kaye
by guest interviewer L.N. Tucholski.
Billy Altman conducted an interview with
Lenny Kaye right after the PSG's Spring '79 show at the
Palladium. If you have the 2-CD Swingin' Pig bootleg of the PSG's
August show at CBGB's (see the title Live at CBGB's on the
bootleg page), you can hear
Patti tease Lenny and read from it between songs. The Palladium
show served as the source for two live B-sides the PSG released
in 1979. A third live track was supposed to appear on
a promo 7" single, but that never happened.
As the 1970s (and the Patti Smith Group) wound its
way down to one of the few graceful punk-rock
retirements, it was documented in blurbs placed
in Hit Parader by Lisa Robinson.
Contentious to the end, these clippings
document a Patti Smith who stated, among other things,
If it gets too out of hand or if too many people start gettlng
too many ideas about me, or the demands have nothing to do
wlth our earliest desires, I wlll move on to something
To sum it up, there's also a clipping from the 5th Anniversary issue
of the New York Rocker, which appeared
in 1981. Lenny Kaye chats briefly and we get filled
in on what the boys in the band are up to post-Patti.
In 1980, Trouser Press honored
Patti with her own scrapbook: a centerfold
devoted to memorabilia, ticket stubs, backstage
Included among the debris was a yellow legal pad
sheet with an early draft of a poem which would
be refined and later emerge in Early Work 1970-1979
under the title true music.
This page offers a look at the
sheet, and a side-by-side comparison
of the two versions.
The year 1988 brought about a first stab at a comeback
after nine years in hiding. After several false starts,
Patti released the Dream of Life album
(as well as a newfangled CD in a
despite warm press coverage, promotional events,
many interviews, and a video which did run on MTV at
least once, there was no overwhelming response
in the marketplace. From that era: A
1988 Interview with Tower
Records' house rag, Pulse!,
portraits from the
record reviews published in Rolling Stone and
the Village Voice, and a prose piece,
February Snow, a
tribute to friends passed on which
Interview published in 1992, but
some of which covers the time frame
of the recording of Dream of Life.
And although I didn't get my hands on it until 1999
via eBay, which kind of violates the spirit of the page
you're reading, here's a look at
a promo CD
for the song Looking for
Her 1993 review of Edmund White's
bio of Jean Genet
A review by
Robert Hilburn of a 1995 California reading,
originally appearing in The Los Angeles Times.
Patti started making like a rock star in 1997
to promote the peace and noise album,
and embarked on a real headlining US concert tour. On
this page are two print ads which ran to promote
appearances in the Philadelphia area.
Patti, the second Century
Patti and band played two year-end concerts in
December of 1999 which featured a lot of the
then-unreleased album Gung Ho.
Folks waiting in line were given a
free promo CD
which featured New Party, a song
from Gung Ho, and an unreleased
live track from 1998. According to the
cover, it was issued to commemorate the
last shows of the Century. With the release
of Gung Ho in March of 2000,
another promo CD
with live tracks from 1998 appeared as a
Patti and Arista go separate ways
After 25 years at Arista Records under Clive Davis' wing,
Patti delivered her eighth album to the label under her
eight-album contract in March of 2000. Even after the
split was made public in May, ending speculation about
the fate of one of Arista's most prestigious (but
underperforming) artists, support continued in the
print advertising and a gorgeous promo CD for
the song Lo and
In March of 2002, Arista released Land (1975-2002), a
2-disc career retrospective featuring studio recordings,
rare outtakes, poetry readings, and live band performances.
One of the new songs on it is Patti's cover of Prince's
When Doves Cry, for which
this promo CD was released. Another
promo CD, with two versions of the new work
Higher Learning, was released for distribution
as a free bonus for folks buying Land (1975-2002) from
select retailers. At Patti's pair of year-end concerts in NYC,
December 2001, this flyer
was passed out advertising the release.
Another bonus, right on Land itself, is a "hidden
track" at the end of disc 2: a recording of Patti singing
Tomorrow from the Broadway show Annie.
The recording took place at the Tower Theater in
Upper Darby, PA on Mother's Day, 1979.
Written by non-professionals - me -
these reviews of some
been lucky enough to attend since 1993
were put up on USENET and/or written
to the Patti mailing list called babel
(now housed at firstname.lastname@example.org).
The page includes a 1975 photo of PS with Bob Dylan
taken by Danny Fields. Last updated with
the 1997 Tibetan Freedom Concert.