Thursday, August 25, 2011

Patti Smith – Horses

Patti Smith, singer and video artist was an icon of New York avant-garde since seventies. She wrote poetry and drama, play on stage, even wrote rock critics. In 1974 he started to perform as rock singer with her own Patti Smith Group. As the most influential person of this time, she was called „Godmother of Punk”.  In next decades her songs became classics and were presented in many cover versions. In 2007 she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2010 she received National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids. She is known as artist and activist. In last years she was touring supporting protests against war in Iraq and calls for the impeachment of George W. Bush. 
Back to seventies, she was one of strongest and brightest personalities in New York scene. With her band she was creating the new radical vision of rock and roll music, that shortly grew into the whole wave of punk music. Later this direction was called protopunk and this retrospectively added labelling span various styles and artists from Captain Beefheart to Lou Reed. And there was as many rock as blues roots in this stream only common quality was rebellion against disco and pop music. What Patti Smith did in her first album became inspiration for many rock singers in next two decades.

Patti Smith – Horses

The legendary debut album Horses, released November 1975 by Arista, established strong position for Patti Smith as a rebel. And it was a real strike against mainstream culture, politics and religion. Grown in rigid religious home as Jehovah’s Witnesses she has opened her first album with the line „Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine”. This clash gives a ray of light to some of her odds. Maybe most consistent quality of her attitude is protest, but in some cases expulsion would be better word. What she is denying in the world of constant permission? Maybe anything she protest is just a rhetoric figure.
When protest song lost its context, it is no longer protest, even if it is still a song. Modern culture gives many subjects for protesting, and many of them are probably only a pretext for obscure denial. Some listeners have to confront with sexuality of songs subject. For some other the main problem is the information concerning her live with Robert Mapplethorpe’s – b.t.w. the photo of Smith on the album cover Mapplethorpe made in their Greenwich Village apartment. Afternoon sun light up the triangle part of the wall behind her back. Cover design for Horses is one of best in history of rock and roll, the sun reflects on the wall painting with every color, and Patti Smith is still rebellious poet.

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