Patti Smith
1979 promo single with a live B-side

posted June 23, 2000

In 1979, a 7-inch, white-label promo single was released for the Patti Smith Group's cover of the Byrds' 1960s song "So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star". A three-track single, the B-side had two songs - not a frequently seen configuration on American 7" releases.

The A-side was mislabeled as a live version of the Byrds' song, taken from a May 23, 1979 show at the Palladium in NYC. The A-side label also included production credits indicating that the live version was used. However, the recording itself is simply the studio version. One of the B-sides on the single (a cover of Mannfred Mann's "5-4-3-2-1") was live as advertised, and was from that Palladium show. It shared the B-side with a song which originated in the band's earliest days: "Fire of Unknown Origin".

Both B-sides eventually re-emerged on CD in 1996 as bonus tracks on a remastered version of the Wave album, but an official live release of "So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star", promo or otherwise, never materialized. This Palladium show was also the source for a live version of "Frederick", which was used separately as the B-side on the studio version of that lead-off track from Wave. The live "Frederick" was not included in the 1996 reissue of the album.


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