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Patti Smith

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Chicago, Illinois, USA (1971 – present)

Patricia Lee “Patti” Smith (born December 30, 1946) is an American singer, poet and visual artist who was a highly influential component of the New York rock movement, particularly with her 1975 début album ‘Horses’. Called the “Godmother of Punk”, she integrated the beat performance style with three-chord rock. Smith’s most widely known song is “Because the Night”, which was co-written with Bruce Springsteen and reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1978. In 2007, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Smith was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Her mother, Beverly, was a jazz singer, and father, Grant, worked at the Honeywell plant. She spent her entire childhood in Deptford, New Jersey. Raised the daughter of a Jehovah’s Witness mother, she claims she had a strong religious, Bible-based education but left organized religion as a teenager because she felt it was too confining. (She later wrote the opening line of her cover version of Them’s Gloria in response to this experience.) After graduating from Deptford Township High School in 1964, Smith went to work in a factory.

In 1967 she left Glassboro State Teachers College (now Rowan University) and moved to New York City. She met photographer Robert Mapplethorpe there while working at a book store with friend, poet Janet Hamill. Mapplethorpe’s photographs of her became the covers for the Patti Smith Group LPs, and they remained friends until Mapplethorpe’s death in 1989.

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