Patti Smith hit the ground running when her 1975 debut record “Horses” exploded into the New York City punk rock scene. Over the course of her life and career she has risen to icon status and dominated not just the rock and roll scene, but also poetry, literature, even theater. Arguably, Smith’s most famous song is “Because the Night” which she co-wrote with Bruce Springsteen and which was famously covered by 10,000 Maniacs in the early 90’s. Her music career already spans five decades, and in 2010 she released a memoir titled “Just Kids” about her life in 1970’s Manhattan, earning the National Book Award for Nonfiction. Smith has literally helped shape the music and arts scene since the ’70s.
Artists like Madonna and Shirley Manson of Garbage, among many others, have named Patti Smith as their main influence. In 2008, Stephen Spielberg directed the documentary “Patti Smith: Dream of Life,” which was honored at the Sundance Film Festival. Smith has been an outspoken political activist, taking on issues like the first Iraq War and has been a strong supporter of the Green Party. It is impossible to sum up the sweeping impact Patti Smith has had during her lifetime as a performer, a writer, an activist, a presence, and a force. Today she turns 70 but it is hard to imagine her slowing down. Happy Birthday, Patti.