Entertainment
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary.
Posted by Ryan Neal
760a631d0dea2ae92cb6e9f7b157b927
Entertainment
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary. Posted by Ryan Neal
760a631d0dea2ae92cb6e9f7b157b927
Patti Smith

Famous For:
Because the Night, People Have the Power, Paths That Cross
Birthdate:
December 30, 1946
Famous Years:
1973-Present
Currently Known For:
Semi-Retired Singer
Networth:
$16 Million
Patti Smith



  Famous For:
Because the Night, People Have the Power, Paths That Cross

  Birthdate:
December 30, 1946

  Famous Years:
1973-Present



  Currently Known For:
Semi-Retired Singer

  Networth:
$16 Million


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Rock music has had its fair share of pioneers thanks to the introduction of new genres and breaking barriers, and you can include Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Patti Smith on that list. Smith helped to change the sound of rock music in the 1970s thanks to her infusion of poetry into heavier sounds, while being one of the few women in the punk rock genre. Though she didn’t achieve consistent mainstream success throughout her career, Smith is still revered as one of the most iconic rockers of all-time.

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Smith was born on December 30, 1946 in Chicago to a mother that had aspirations of being a famous jazz singer, while her father was a blue collar worker, and the couple eventually had three more children. At an early age, Smith and her family moved to Philadelphia and then New Jersey where she found her love for music. Smith would spend hours listening to some of the biggest names in rock, but she didn’t get into performing herself right away.

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Instead, Smith had gone into factory work like her father, and was pregnant at a young age, giving birth to her first daughter at 20 years old, placing the child up for adoption. Smith decided to focus on college, but dropped out after a brief time and went to New York City where she started a relationship with a photographer and started to play music herself. Smith would move to many different cities throughout her 20s, with a focus on poetry.

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More people knew Smith at that time as a writer, poet and part-time backup musician, instead of the star that she’d eventually be. It wasn’t until she was nearly 30 that Smith started to get into rock music herself, but not on the microphone. At first, she was more involved in the instrument side, but formed a band with three men where they would record their first single, a take on the song “Hey Joe” that was made popular by Jimi Hendrix.

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The Patti Smith Group hadn’t been signed to a label at the time, but it didn’t take long for executives to take notice of their performances. After their debut, they were quickly signed to Arista Records, and released their debut album “Horses” that was released in 1975. The album would do rather well in the United States, reaching the top 50 of the mainstream charts.

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Smith released several more albums during the 1970s, with “Radio Ethiopia”, “Easter” and “Wave”, despite having an injury that she suffered from falling off of a stage during this time. The biggest album of the bunch was “Wave”, released in May of 1979 that reached the top 20 on the Billboard charts. The biggest song that Smith has had in her career, however, came with the previous album “Easter” with “Because the Night”, which reached number 13 on the mainstream charts in the United States, and helped Bruce Springsteen’s career as he co-wrote the song.

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When the 1980s came along, however, Smith decided that she wanted to step away from the spotlight, settling down with guitar player Fred Smith. The couple had two children during the decade, and moved to the Detroit area while her children grew up. It wasn’t until 1988 that Smith would release another album, coming back with “Dream of LIfe” that reached number 65 on the charts.

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Smith then took another break from recording albums, having had her next release in 1996 with “Gone Again”, and in 1997 with “Peace and Noise”. The new millennium saw two albums early on with “Gung Ho” and “Trampin’”, though these wouldn’t register much on the charts. Her biggest hit during the 1990s came as a featured singer on the song “E-Bow the Letter” with R.E.M., heading to the top 50.

For the most part, Smith has been retired from making new music. Her only album in the past decade came in the form of “Banga” in 2012, which entered the top 60 on the mainstream charts in the United States, but the only single that came off the album was the uncharting “April Fool”. Smith has mainly been singing cover songs since the 2000s started, though she does still perform from time to time. After influencing many singers throughout the years, the rocker who’s now in her early 70s is enjoying the quiet life now.

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Smith spends much of her time practicing photography, and now both of her children are grown up and in their 30s. She’s received a lot of accolades during her career, including being named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007 and has several Grammy nominations. Once in a while, though, you’ll see Smith hop back on stage.

“I know I can’t sing like Amy Winehouse or Rihanna,” Smith said. “I can’t rely on that physical beauty or certain things that you have when you’re young. But what I can rely on is that, when I go on stage, I am only there for one reason and that’s to communicate with the people. I don’t have any wishes for myself. I don’t care about career. I already have a place, and a good name...there’s nothing that I really want, except for us all to experience something together.”


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