Happy Birthday, Patti!


The dA-Zed guide to Patti Smith

MusicdA-Zed guides

40 years after her genre-defining album Horses, we sift through the most iconic moments from the first lady of punk

29 June 2015 Anna Cafolla

Patti Smith has risen above the brackets of rock, poetry and politics. The punk high priestess’ album Horses was released 40 years ago, yet its raw message of loss, desire and protest against the man transcends time. At the age of 21, Smith packed in her degree and the assembly-line job so gracefully alluded to in the song “Piss Factory”, fled New Jersey and made a new home for herself in New York, with the help of a white patent purse she found with 32 dollars and a gold locket inside: the equivalent of a week’s pay. After many months spent sleeping in doorways, working soulless retail jobs, and choosing between grilled cheese sandwiches and vital art supplies – plus a brief but formative spell busking in Paris – she found herself running with the city’s inner-circle of factory girls, conceptual artists and rock stars-slash-playwrights. It’s from this milieu that Horses emerged, and with a series of shows tied in around the record’s anniversary now in full swing, here’s our need-to-know guide to the poet laurete of punk.”