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Patti Smith was a poet, a punk prophet, a feminist icon, a living work of art and the first woman rock-outsider to come from the New York underground and become a star.
From her confused and religious upbringing to her early days as a poet, punk and rock ’n’ roller, Patti Smith redefined the role of artist, writer and female performer. This major biography will rightly place Patti Smith as a central figure in late twentieth century popular culture.
Cited by musicians young and old as a major influence, Patti Smith is as fascinating an individual as she is a great artist. From a religious childhood in South Jersey she escaped to New York swearing she would become famous. Acting as muse first to Richard Mapplethorpe and then Sam Shepherd, Patti began her career as a performance poet and rock writer. She soon became the first punk rockstar mixing her distinct voice and poetry with rock and roll music. Yet in 1979 she gave it all up to live with her husband in quiet, suburban Detroit until he died an alcoholic in 1994.
As well as placing Patti Smith at the centre of the New York underground that included, amongst others, Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Blondie, Jim Carrol and William Burroughs, Victor Bockris’s biography investigates the private world behind the celebrity – the confused childhood, the piss factory, torturous relationship with men, the secretive retreat to Detroit and the slow and historic comeback in 1995 as Patti returns to her rightful place as a central character and icon of 20th century popular culture and the queen of the New York Underground.Contraportada:
Poet, visionary, iconoclast, feminist icon, and High Priestess of Punk, Patti Smith is widely recognised as one of the most influential musicians of her time and a pivotal figure in modern popular culture.
Patti Smith was born in Chicago and raised in the swamps of New Jersey. Pregnant at sixteen, she escaped small-town life in 1967 to find fame in New York City. As flatmate and muse to Robert Mapplethorpe, and lover of junkie poet Jim Carroll and playwright Sam Shepard, she developed her skills as a poet, actress and rock writer.
In 1972 Patti published her first book of poetry, Seventh Heaven. Slowly her ground-breaking poetry performances began to include musicians: Lenny Kaye on guitar and later drums, bass and keyboard. She recorded her first single, ‘Piss Factory’, in 1974 and in 1975 found recognition with the release of her first album, the seminal ‘Horses’. Over the next years she changed the face of rock and roll and became the first international punk star.
Suddenly, however, at the pinnacle of her success in 1979, the ‘Field Marshall of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ moved from Manhattan to suburban Detroit to live with her husband, the legendary Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith, guitarist for the MC5s. For fifteen years, she lived far away from the rock world raising her two children and working with her husband whose long-term illness, exacerbated by alcohol, led to his death in 1994. Since then she has staged one of the most remarkable comebacks in rock history.
This vivid and authoritative biography celebrates the life of a punk survivor, poet and icon who defines her times, a biography that places her at the centre of the New York underground that included Andy Warhol, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Blondie and William Burroughs.
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