January 14, 2010

Patti Smith//Gloria

I would like to introduce a brand new tag to the OSS tag universe today. Joining the ranks of such classics as Animal Band Names and Superlative Band Names, please welcome Classic Rock/R+B Songs Covered by Punk/Post-Punk Girls. There are more of these then you'd think there'd be.

From my perspective, Patti Smith is the crown jewel of New Jersey cultural exports (move over, Bruce). There's been quite a resurgence of interest in this poet/musician/artist/activist/general queen-of-the-downtown-scene recently thanks to a new documentary about her.

When I first got Horses, I listened to it obsessively on repeat. It is a beautiful, beautiful masterpiece of an album that sounded completely different than anything that had come before it at the time. Additionally, Smith is an incredibly influential songwriter/musician, especially to other female artists, with a legacy that stretches from Cat Power to REM to Kate Bush to Tori Amos to The Smiths to (no matter how much she denies it) PJ Harvey.

Smith has also worked with a to-die-for list of collaborators and punk greats, including John Cale (see: yesterday), The (aforementioned) Boss, Alan Ginsberg, Michael Stipe, Robert Mapplethorpe and Tom Verlaine (of Television; look forward to that post, guys). She was also married to Fred "Sonic" Smith of the MC5. OK. I'm totally done now. Patti Smith is basically the coolest person ever. Over.

This song was written by Van Morrison for his band Them...but honestly, who even cares? It's not that it's bad, but the sheer energy of this version knocks the original out of the park.


Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine.

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