Album of the Day: Patti Smith (3/3/78) 32 Years!

Though rightly given the moniker “Godmother of Punk,” Patti Smith drew much broader appeal than that of the hard-core punks who came after her. (A Patti Smith playlist will be on DrRock.com shortly). Many of Smith’s earliest songs were primitive, stripped-down rock ‘n roll and garage rock in the punk vein. Her first two albums, Horses (1975) and Radio Ethiopia (1976) were unquestionably the lead-in to the punk movement. But she also delivered shining examples of toned-down punk with melodies and poetic lyrics that actually held meaning, and thus was far more accessible than most of the buzzsaw noise that pounded New York, London and Los Angeles in the late 70s.

Smith’s third album, the March 3, 1978 release, Easter was the most entertaining (and commercially viable) of all of her early works. Sure, there’s the fury of “Babelogue,” the snarl of “Space Monkey” and the indignation of “Rock N Roll Nigger.” But there’s also the straight-ahead rock of “Till Victory,” the sweetly plodding, vaguely choral sound of the title track, and the emphatic hit “Because The Night,” the song she co-wrote with Springsteen and took to Top 10 status in the U.K. and #13 in the U.S.

Smith moved just enough away from the punk movement she helped launch to score a Top 20 album that charted for over five months. And with Easter, she also unmistakably opened the door for 80s hard rocking females like Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, Joan Jett and the Wilson sisters of Heart.

Easter is available as a CD and mp3 files on Amazon (click here), and as iPod downloads on iTunes (click here).

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  1. #1 by SpaceTrucker on March 6, 2010 - 1:30 pm

    I don’t get Patti Smith at all, her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Lame was unwarranted and her talent (or lack there of) was overstated by the press. Punk Rock requires minimal musical ability and was a flash in the pan fad like Disco and Hair metal. Long live Hard Rock and Heavy Metal!

  2. #2 by Dr. Rock on March 9, 2010 - 4:15 pm

    SpaceTrucker: C’mon, Patti’s made some great music and she’s the poet laureate of punk-rock, so how can you deny her the honor of the Hall. Maybe she’s not as heavy or loud as you’d like, but her music is far deeper and complex (with substantive lyrics) than you average chainsaw punker. She’s definitely one of the better ladies of rock. You’ve got to give her that much. — Dr. Rock

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