Patti Smith in concert

Why is she/are they here?

Patti Smith is a legendary genius in the music industry. Her fusion of spoken word poetry, music and punk is unique and represents to me the ultimate in rebellion and anti-establishment.


  • Patti Smith was brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness. She left the church as a teenager. She wrote the famous opening lyrics “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine” in her song Gloria.
  • Patti married Fred “Sonic” Smith in 1980. The running joke at the time was that she married Fred only because she would not have to change her name. They were married until his sudden death in 1994.
  • Her son Jackson Smith was married to Whitestripes drummer Meg White.
  • She is still touring the world performing at 70 years of age.

Active period:

1974 – current

My favourites:

Outside society, Gloria, Pissing in a river, People have the power

Frequent collaborators:

She toured briefly with Bob Dylan. She’s probably been more of an influence on many singers including Michael Stipe of REM, Madonna, Courtney Love to name a few.

Song writing:

Brilliant poet and lyricist.

Other performance skills:

Spoken word, poetry and song lyrics.

Samples of lyrics:

Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine

Gloria” from Horses album, 1975

And the people have the power
To redeem the work of fools
From the meek the graces shower
It’s decreed the people rule
People have the power

“People have the power” from Dream of Life album, 1978

How to listen to/purchase their stuff legally:

On iTunes
CD’s still available on Ebay, Amazon etc.

Other accomplishments:

  • Has been an AIDS activist and contributed “Memorial Tribute (Live)” to the AIDS-Benefit Album No Alternative produced by the Red Hot Organization.
  • Has been an active supporter of the Greens party in the USA and has written several protest songs where human rights abuses have occurred including in Israel, Iraq war, Iran and Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
  • She also called for the impeachment of George W Bush.

Gallery of moments: