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Patti Smith

Real name: Patti Lee Smith
Birthdate: December 30, 1946
Status: N/A
Partner: N/A

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Patricia Lee ("Patti") Smith (born December 30, 1946) is an American musician, songwriter, and poet. Smith came to prominence prior to the Punk movement with her 1975 debut album "Horses." Called "Punk's Poet Laureate", she integrated the Beat poetry performance style with garage-band Rock & Roll; her allusions introduced 19th Century French poetry to American teens, while her androgynous public persona and unladylike language defied the Disco era. From the underground, Patti Smith has become one of rock and roll's most influential musicians.

In 1969 Smith appeared with Wayne County in Jackie Curtis's play "Femme Fatale". As a member of the St. Mark's Poetry Project, she spent the early '70s painting, writing, and performing. In 1971 she performed – for one night only – in Sam Shepard's "Cowboy Mouth," (the published play's notes call for "a man who looks like a coyote and a woman who looks like a crow"). She collaborated with Allen Lanier of Blue Öyster Cult, who recorded several of the songs to which Smith had contributed, including "Debbie Denise" (after her poem "In Remembrance of Debbie Denise"), "Career of Evil," "Fire of Unknown Origin," "The Revenge of Vera Gemini," and "Shooting Shark." During these years, Smith also wrote rock journalism, and was published in "Creem" magazine.

While touring in support of the record, Smith accidentally danced off a high stage in Tampa, Florida, falling 15 feet into a concrete orchestra pit and breaking several neck vertebrae. The injury required a period of rest and an intensive round of physical therapy, during which time she was able to reassess, re-energize and reorganize her life, a luxury that had been denied her in her swift rise to fame.

Smith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame March 12, 2007. Zach de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine gave Smith's induction speech. Smith dedicated her award to the memory of her late husband, Fred. Smith gave a performance of the Rolling Stones classic "Gimme Shelter", a song she termed a great anti-war song. As the closing number of 2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction evening, Smith's "People Have the Power" was used for the big celebrity jam that always ends the program. Among those playing or singing were Eddie Vedder, Stephen Stills and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. All the other inductees to the Hall that night joined: Sammy Hagar and Mike Anthony of Van Halen, the Ronettes, Grandmaster Flash and Furious Five and R.E.M. including Bill Berry on drums.

Smith has been an active supporter of the Green Party, which nominated Ralph Nader in the 2000 presidential campaign. She led the crowd singing "People Have the Power" at the campaign's rallies, and also performed at several of Nader's subsequent "Democracy Rising" events. When an in-concert reference to Ralph Nader was answered with booing (some blame the Greens for the Democratic Party losing the 2000 election), Smith said, "They booed Thomas Paine too." Smith nominally supported Democratic candidate John Kerry in the 2004 election. She returned to writing and recording. Bruce Springsteen continued performing her "People Have the Power" at campaign events. In the winter of 2004/2005, Smith toured again with Nader in a series of rallies to end the 2003 invasion of Iraq and call for the impeachment of President George W. Bush.


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