KEXP Documentaries: Poets and Music – Patti Smith

Patti Smith’s 1975 album “Horses” is arguably one of the best debut albums of all time.  It also sparked the career of a poet and rock star that has lasted over four decades.  “Our real battle cry was not to save rock and roll, but to inspire people to save it.” Patti says.  “Inspire people to remember its full range of possibilities. Our cultural voice, our poetic voice, our revolutionary voice, our sexual voice. That was our true mission, to inspire others.”

Born in 1946 in New Jersey, Patti moved to New York City in her early 20s.  She never planned to be a rock and roll star, but in the early 70’s she started doing poetry readings, backed by Lenny Kaye on guitar. And in ’74 became part of the early proto-punk movement, centered around the club CBGBs in New York’s Bowery district.  Over the years Patti  Smith has released more than a dozen albums where she not only reads poetry but also fronts her own rock and roll band. In 2008 the film documentary “Dream of Life” came out, the director Steven Sebring had followed Patti around for eleven years before making his edit. In 2010 Patti’s book “Just Kids”, about her life with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe was published, winner her the National Book Award for nonfiction.

Listen to this KEXP Documentary:

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KEXP Documentaries are created by Michele Myers with assistance from John Felthous, Tiffany Grobelski, Mary Janisch and Executive Producer Kevin Cole. If you would like to follow along more closely in the creation of these radio stories, we post research materials, songs and videos on our Facebook page and on Twitter.

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One Comment

  1. Edward Jennings
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Permalink


    Congratulations in putting together a well stated documentary about Patti Smith. Exemplary production. Very captivating.


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