Patti Smith has been making a mark as a musician and artist since the 1970s. Her recently released memoir, Just Kids, about the music scene in New York City in the 1970s and her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, has become a best seller.
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007 and this April awarded the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) highest award, the Founders Award, ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams said, "Patti fused raw rock energy with the heart of a poet and ignited the 1970s New York punk scene. She expanded the boundaries of artistic expression, musically and otherwise, inspiring generations of rockers worldwide. She continues to be a vibrant, prolific artist, working in a wide variety of media." She has been called the "Godmother" of Punk.
Smith has described her work as "three chords merged with the power of the word." Her first album Horses (1975) fused punk rock with poetry, and the cover photo by Mapplethorpe became a rock classic. Her album Easter (1978) included her best known hit, Because the Night, co-written with Bruce Springsteen. In 1988 Smith and then husband Fred "Sonic" Smith recorded Dream of Life that included the classic anthem, People Have the Power. A documentary about Smith, patti smith, dream of life, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008.
Smith has released 18 music albums, published 14 books of poetry and art, and performed and exhibited around the world. She has been nominated for two Grammy awards, has received poetry awards and an honorary doctorate, and was awarded the highest honor given to artists in France, the Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres. Smith also received the prestigious Women of Valor Award at the ROCKRGRL Music Conference on November 10, 2005 - exactly 30 years to the day since Horses' release.
Smith is politically active and participates in benefit work and in various human rights organizations, including the Neil Young Bridge School, Jewel Heart, and the Tibet House Foundation. The song 1959, about the Chinese invasion of Tibet from the album Peace and Noise, was nominated for a Grammy in 1998.
>Smith was born in Chicago and has two adult children.
NOTE: Bio is as it appeared in the Forum program from May 1, 2010.
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