As a woman in love with music, I can’t help but to love sharing my musical passions. Just ask anyone who knows me. So here’s the deal. Thursdays (rather than Wednesdays, since technically it is Thursday currently) I am going to post a video by an artist/band I particularly like/think everyone should know about. *edit, I can’t figure out how to do the posting of the videos. so some links are included at the end of the entry, so check ’em out. this post will be pretty meaningless otherwise*
A forewarning–I am more or less interested in women in music, but that does not mean I will ignore everything else.
Also in addition to posting the video I will also give the context of the video in the best way that I can, which means an artist bio, why the artist is important, or the song, and why you should recognize them.
So. Today’s installment:
“I don’t have any other motivation than to do something great.” Patti Smith to rock journalist, Susan Shapiro, 1975
After more than 30 years after she released her first album, Horses, a punk rock legend has finally received her due.
Patti Smith was among the 2007 inductees this March into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As Rage Against the Machine frontman Zach de la Rocha noted, “…Patti Smith, the poet, reavealed truth regardless of political consequences.”
At the award ceremony, it was clear that she wasn’t going to stay content with performing just her biggest hits–including “Because The Night” (co-written with Bruce Springsteen). Her third song was a politically conscious, hopeful punk tune titled “Rock & Roll Nigger.”
“The future is now,” Smith yells out, defiant to the core. Like any punk anthem, this one talked about being outside of society. However it wasn’t a negative ‘we’re alone and there’s nothing we can do about it’ theme.
“We’re alive!” Smith shouts, “we have the choice, we have free speech to celebrate–and take that positive energy and go change the world, we can start right now, we can build a new world–TONIGHT!” (I mighta gotten some of those misquoted…’twas hard to catch everything…!) As the song wraps up Smith turns to face the crowd and goes to the front of the stage.
“We salute the future” she said, and physically saluted. She bowed, and walked off the stage. (You can watch this! just check out the RR hall of fame site)
The journey to the R&R Hall of Fame has not been a short one–as evidenced by the time gap between her first album and the receiving of the honor. In the time between 1975 and 2007, Smith has accomplished a number of things. She has released several albums, including Easter, which contains “Because the Night,” she has done artwork, poetry and she has been a mother and wife. She has had people come and she has seen the people she loved go. Her husband, Fred “Sonic” Smith passed away as did both her mother and father–making the acceptance of the award that much harder.
But accept it she did, and on the behalf of her husband, who told her in sometime before he passed away that she would certainly find her way to the Hall of Fame.
And indeed she did.
Listen to any album by Patti Smith and it will be unquestionable why she found her way there. Her voice is distinctive, and expressive. Listen to Because the Night closely and you will hear an impossible-to-miss emotion in the way she says the words, in where the breaks between words are, it all creates an effect.
Smith is indeed an inspiration. I will admit that last year I knew very little of her at all. But upon discovering her it is impossible to deny her talent, her ability. Her passion is unquestionable, and we should learn something from it, and live by that passion in our own lives.
The future IS ours. As the generation I’m a part to comes of age, it’s harder to deny that we will soon be part of the bigger system, and we will have an ability to make things happen. Civil rights is not a fight that has finished.
Even the wife of Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King, recognized this. We can make sure that glbtiq identified person’s have equal rights. We can see that people are treated the same regardless of gender. I’m not saying we can change this overnight, but we can start the process.
And the time is now.
“I started out as a missionary, but I couldn’t find a religion which didn’t promise things to some people to the exclusion of others.” –Patti Smith to rock journalist, Susan Shapiro, 1975