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Also Known As: Patricia Smith Died:
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Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Patti Smith helped pioneer punk music and inspired generations of rebels, from Eighties gutter punk to the Nineties "riot grrrls." As a singer, songwriter, and spoken word poet, Smith revolutionized the music industry with her landmark album Horses (1975), while her fiery stage performances helped put historic New York nightclub CBGB on the map. Smith courted controversy with her music, such as adding the line "Jesus died for somebodyâ¿¿s sins, but not mine" in the song "Gloria" (1975), and provided the punk genre with its love anthem, "Because the Night" (1978). Throughout her career, she championed androgyny, empowered women, and was a staunch political activist, yet it was the powerful conviction in her voice and music that made Smith a true rock icon.Patricia Lee Smith was born on Dec. 30, 1946 in Chicago, IL. Raised as a Jehovahâ¿¿s Witness in suburban Philadelphia, she was eager to leave the confines of organized religion by the time she was a teenager. In the early 1970s, Smith moved to New York City, where she met famed photographer Robert Mapplethorpe while working at a book store. The two creative minds struck up a friendship, which turned into a passionate, and...

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Patti Smith helped pioneer punk music and inspired generations of rebels, from Eighties gutter punk to the Nineties "riot grrrls." As a singer, songwriter, and spoken word poet, Smith revolutionized the music industry with her landmark album Horses (1975), while her fiery stage performances helped put historic New York nightclub CBGB on the map. Smith courted controversy with her music, such as adding the line "Jesus died for somebodyâ¿¿s sins, but not mine" in the song "Gloria" (1975), and provided the punk genre with its love anthem, "Because the Night" (1978). Throughout her career, she championed androgyny, empowered women, and was a staunch political activist, yet it was the powerful conviction in her voice and music that made Smith a true rock icon.

Patricia Lee Smith was born on Dec. 30, 1946 in Chicago, IL. Raised as a Jehovahâ¿¿s Witness in suburban Philadelphia, she was eager to leave the confines of organized religion by the time she was a teenager. In the early 1970s, Smith moved to New York City, where she met famed photographer Robert Mapplethorpe while working at a book store. The two creative minds struck up a friendship, which turned into a passionate, and oftentimes troubled, relationship. Smith narrated the 1971 short film "Robert Having His Nipples Pierced," in which she rambled on about various topics, from her childhood to her thoughts on singer Bob Dylan. Mapplethorpe went on to photograph the covers for the Patti Smith Group LPs, including the landmark album Horses (1975), but their relationship dissolved due to, among other things, Mapplethorpeâ¿¿s homosexuality. They would remain friends until his death in 1989.

Smithâ¿¿s early years in New York City saw her blossoming from a local artist reciting Beat-inspired poetry over friend Lenny Kayeâ¿¿s electric guitar accompaniment, to a pioneer of the cityâ¿¿s burgeoning punk rock movement. Along with acts such as Blondie and The Ramones, Smith helped put New York club CBGB on the map. She released her first single in 1974, a cover of The Leavesâ¿¿ "Hey Joe" (1965) with the original song "Piss Factory" as the B-side. The Patti Smith Group formed in 1975 and released its debut album Horses that same year. The album fused punk, garage rock and spoken word, and featured an altered cover of Van Morrisonâ¿¿s "Gloria" (1964). Smithâ¿¿s version retained only the chorus and began with her famous lyric "Jesus died for somebodyâ¿¿s sins, but not mine," which alluded to her strong religious upbringing. Horses only peaked at No. 47 on the Billboard 200 chart, but would later be cited as one of the greatest albums in music history.

The release of Horses also kick-started Smithâ¿¿s decades-long relationship with Arista Records. The Patti Smith Groupâ¿¿s sophomore album Radio Ethiopia (1976) was not the chart-topping success Smith had hoped for. The album was also widely panned by critics for being too self-indulgent and Smith was labeled a sellout. Around this time, Smith suffered a severe neck injury after falling off stage in Florida while touring in support of Radio Ethiopia. Smith bounced back two years later with her most successful album, Easter, a commercial triumph largely due to the single "Because the Night." Bruce Springsteen originally recorded the track during sessions for his 1978 album Darkness on the Edge of Town, but was dissatisfied with it. Smith was reportedly working in the studio next door and received a tape of the song from her and Springsteenâ¿¿s mutual engineer-producer, Jimmy Iovine. The Patti Smith Group recorded its own version of "Because the Night," released it as the first single off Easter, and saw it move up the mainstream charts.

After marrying former MC5 guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith and raising two children in Detroit, MI, Smith dropped out of the music scene for several years. She reemerged in 1988 with the album Dream of Life, but withdrew from touring. However, she remained an active part of the writing community, releasing the book Early Work in 1994 and appearing onstage to read her poetry. Following the deaths of her husband and younger brother Todd of heart attacks in 1994, Smith returned to New York and slowly returned to music. She briefly toured with Bob Dylan in 1995 and recorded the album Gone Again (1996), which focused on death, mourning, and rebirth. One of the albumâ¿¿s standout tracks was a heartfelt ode to the late Kurt Cobain titled "About a Boy."

In 1999, Rolling Stone magazine named Gone Again as one of "The Essential Recordings of the â¿¿90s." Smith released several more albums that decade, most of them reflecting on socio-political issues from the Vietnam War to the AIDS epidemic to the Heavenâ¿¿s Gate cult. She extended her political involvement through the new millennium, lending her song "People Have the Power" (1988) for Green Party candidate Ralph Naderâ¿¿s presidential campaign in 2000. Smith cut ties with Arista Records in 2002 and released her final album with the label that year, the double-disc compilation Land. A sometimes actress throughout her long career, Smith played a traveler in the comedy-drama "The Big Empty" (2003), and joined the cast of Jean-Luc Godardâ¿¿s drama "Socialism" (2010). She renewed her support for Nader in the 2004 elections and frequently appeared at anti-Iraq War and anti-President George W. Bush rallies. That same year, she released the album Trampinâ¿¿ on Columbia Records, which, not surprisingly, featured highly-political tracks such as "Qana" and "Without Chains."

On Oct. 16, 2006, Smith performed on stage on the closing night of CBGB, the famed New York club that had helped propel her music career and that of many other hard rock and punk acts. Smith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007; during her acceptance speech, she dedicated the award to her late husband who, just before he died, predicted that she would someday be receiving the honor. The following year, filmmaker Steven Sebring released the documentary "Patti Smith: Dream of Life," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The singer published her memoir Just Kids in 2010, in which she shared stories from her early years as a struggling New York artist and her tumultuous relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe.

By Marc Cuenco

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Lawless (2014)
4.
 Film Socialisme (2010)
8.
9.
 Benjamin Smoke (2000) Herself
10.
 Rugrats Movie, The (1998) Voice Of Newborn Baby
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