Musicheads Essential Artist: Patti Smith

patti smith
Patti Smith at The Current in 2013. (Nate Ryan/MPR) (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
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Patti Smith is a truly singular and unique American artist: a singer, songwriter, poet, activist, and visual artist who was forged in the crucible of the New York City punk rock movement of the 1970s.

She came roaring into America's public consciousness with her searing 1975 thesis, Horses. Patti Smith has been called the punk poet laureate, fusing rock and poetry in all her work. Her most widely-known song is "Because the Night," a song she co-wrote with Bruce Springsteen.

Always a trailblazer, always an innovator, Patti Smith has never shown fear in her work. That bravery and endless inventiveness paid off. In 2007, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In addition to her numerous impacts on the world of music, Patti Smith is also a celebrated author.

In 2010, she won the National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids, a book that fulfilled a promise she made to her former longtime roommate and partner, Robert Mapplethorpe.

Her legacy is recognized the world over. In 2014, she performed at the official Vatican Christmas concert, and in 2016 she attended the Nobel Prize awards ceremony in Stockholm on behalf of Bob Dylan to accept his Nobel Prize in Literature.

Patti Smith: Unmatched in legacy, an important and influential American artist.

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