- 1. Legacy
Patricia Lee Smith is an American singer-songwriter, musician, author, and poet who became an influential component of the New York City punk rock movement with her 1975 debut album Horses.
Called the "punk poet laureate", Smith fused rock and poetry in her work. Her most widely known song is "Because the Night", which was co-written with Bruce Springsteen. It reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1978 and number five in the U.K. In 2005, Smith was named a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. In 2007, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
On November 17, 2010, Smith won the National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids. The book fulfilled a promise she had made to her former long-time partner, Robert Mapplethorpe. She placed 47th in Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 Greatest Artists published in December 2010 and was also a recipient of the 2011 Polar Music Prize.
Smith has been an inspiration for Michael Stipe of R.E.M. Listening to her album Horses made a huge impact on him; he said later, "I decided then that I was going to start a band."
In 1998, Stipe published a collection of photos called Two Times Intro: On the Road with Patti Smith. Stipe sings backing vocals on Smith's songs "Last Call" and "Glitter in Their Eyes". Smith sang background vocals on R.E.M.'s songs "E-Bow the Letter" and "Blue".
The Australian alternative rock band, The Go-Betweens dedicated a track ("When She Sang About Angels") off their 2000 album, The Friends of Rachel Worth, to Smith's long-time influence.
In 2004, Shirley Manson of Garbage spoke of Smith's influence on her in Rolling Stone's issue "The Immortals: 100 Greatest Artists of All Time", in which Patti Smith was counted number 47. The Smiths members Morrissey and Johnny Marr share an appreciation for Smith's Horses, and revealed that their song "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" is a reworking of one of the album's tracks, "Kimberly". In 2004, Sonic Youth released an album called Hidros 3 (to Patti Smith). U2 also cites Patti Smith as an influence. In 2005 Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall released the single "Suddenly I See" as a tribute of sorts to Patti Smith. Canadian actor Elliot Page frequently mentions Smith as one of his idols and has done various photo shoots replicating famous Smith photos, as well as Irish actress Maria Doyle Kennedy who often refers to Smith as a major influence. In 1978 and 1979, Gilda Radner portrayed a character called Candy Slice on Saturday Night Live based on Smith.
Alternative rock singer-songwriter Courtney Love of Hole heavily credited Smith as being a huge influence on her; Love received Smith's album Horses in juvenile hall as a teenager, and "realized that you could do something that was completely subversive that didn't involve violence or felonies. I stopped making trouble," said Love. "I stopped." Hole's classic track "Violet" features the lyrics "And the sky was all violet / I want it again, but violent, more violent", alluding to lyrics from Smith's "Kimberly". Love later stated that she considered "Rock n Roll Nigger" the greatest rock song of all time.
American pop singer Madonna has also named Smith as one of her biggest influences. Anglo-Celtic rock band The Waterboys' debut single, "A Girl Called Johnny", was written as a tribute to Smith. In 2018, the English band Florence and the Machine dedicated the High as Hope album song "Patricia" to Smith. The lyrics reference Patricia as Florence Welch's "North Star". Canadian country musician Orville Peck cited Smith as having had a big impact on him, stating that Smith's album Horses introduced him to a new and different way to make music.