People Have The Power – Patti Smith

Man there’s some cracking Patti Smith records out there in the big wide world. In the very first flush of posts when this site launched I put up the twofer that opens Easter on here as one of my favourite PSG moments. We’ve (I say we, it’s just me) also featured her unique cover work of Nirvana, The Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen. We’ve seen The Pope Of Mope and 21st Century Silly Boy Stephen Patrick Morrissey cover her track Redondo Beach from the immaculate Horses. Before he just became too much to bear himself.

That’s out of kilter. Too much tribute, not enough of the source material. I’m gonna redress that right now with this late-80’s jam. A highlight of 1988’s Dream Of Life album. Remember Patti is rock royalty at this stage. The summer of punk was over a decade ago by the time this record came out.

“I was dreamin’ in my dreamin’ Of an aspect bright and fair And my sleepin’ it was broken But my dream it lingered near In the form of shinin’ valleys”

Written by Patti and her other half Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith the single is a big rabble rouser that gets to the heart of the matter over swelling guitar and battle drums. It was a minor minor hit in the second summer of love. For some. Well it was a single at least. In the UK it barely charted, but the songs stature has grown and grown in the intervening decades. In no small part that grass roots popularity has come from U2’s adoption of the song as their walk on music.

“Where the pure air recognized Oh, and my senses newly opened And I awakened to the cry”

So we’re (again, still just me) rebalancing some of the really early posts on SFTD. When I chose Patti early on it’s because she’s a musical Titan in my listening history. I’ve post loads of Ramones (one of Patti’s closest old muckers), Iggy, REM, Motörhead (actually nowhere near enough of those guys, stick around) over the four score years I’ve been blogging. Time to dig a little deeper into some of the old faves

“And the people have the power To redeem the work of fools From the meek the graces shower It’s decreed the people rule”


12 thoughts on “People Have The Power – Patti Smith

  1. We saw Patti in concert at the Montreal Jazz Festival (I know) and it was great. Started out with a reading from the Howl while the band vamped behind her. We got shoved out of the front by all the super-fans who needed to be as close as physically possible to their hero, but we enjoyed it nonetheless, just from further back. Between my lovely wife and I, and between CD and LP, we have about 5 Smith albums here, all greatness.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. M Train is a current-memoir/meditation from 2015 that describes Patti’s day-to-day of visiting favorite cafes to sip coffee, traveling, watching detective shows, etc. It is not so much the story but the beautiful, non-showy prose and the ride-along inside Patti’s thoughts that move me. I’ve reread it a few times and each time I feel amazed by the step out of my ordinary and into the mind of an “artist” who seemingly experiences the world and its mundanities in a much more thoughtful and eccentric way than I do. Highly recommend.

        Liked by 2 people

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