A total original, Patti Smith’s unique vocals, lyrics and blistering sound are credited with kicking off America’s punk movement of the mid-70s. Even before she became known as ‘The High Priestess of Punk Poetry’, Smith was earning her anarchic stripes. Her collections of poems, Witt, Early Morning and Seventh Heaven, earned her high praise in New York’s literary circles. She responded that she was “just trying to kick poetry in the ass”.
Smith’s seminal album, Horses, was released in 1975. While she has other albums under her belt, such as Banga and Easter, Horses is the album that has defined her legacy. Dealing with themes including sex, love and suicide, songs such as Birdland and Redondo Beach put Smith’s lyrics front and centre, riding a wave of three-chord rock ‘n’ roll.
Visceral and vulnerable, Smith has set the bar for the likes of PJ Harvey and Bjork to follow.