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Patti Smith


1946

Patti Smith is born in Chicago, Illinois.

1967

Patti Smith migrates from New Jersey to New York City, where she befriends musicians, artists and playwrights and works on her poetry.

1971

Patti Smith performs with guitarist Lenny Kaye for the first time at a poetry reading with musical accompaniment at St. Marks Church on New York’s Lower East Side.

1973

Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye join forces for a “Rock ’n’ Rimbaud” performance in New York, sewing the seeds for the Patti Smith Group.

1974

The Patti Smith Group begins a regular gig at CBGB’s, performing four nights a week for almost two months.

1974

Patti Smith records her first single – “Hey Joe” b/w “Piss Factory” – at Electric Lady Studios in New York. It is released on the Mer label and later re-released on Sire Records.

1975

Patti Smith’s epochal debut album, Horses, is released on Arista Records. It will reach #47, but that middling chart position gives no sense of its ultimate impact.

1976

Radio Ethiopia, the second album by the Patti Smith, enters the album chart, where it will peak at #122.

1977

While performing “Ain’t It Strange” while opening for Bob Seger in Tampa, Florida, Patti Smith falls offstage, cracking two vertebrae. The injury sidelines her for a year.

1978

Easter, the third album by Patti Smith, enters Billboard’s album chart, where it will peak at #20, resurrecting her career following a year-long recovery from injury.

1978

“Because the Night,” recorded by Patti Smith and cowritten with Bruce Springsteen, enters the Top Forty, where it will peak at #13.

1979

Patti Smith releases Wave, her fourth album, produced by Todd Rundgren, which will reach #18 – her highest showing. Smith, however, will not record again for nearly a decade.

1979

The Patti Smith Group goes into retirement following a tour-ending gig at a Florence, Italy soccer stadium.

1980

Patti Smith and guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith, late of the MC5, are married and settle down in Detroit to raise a family.

1988

Dream of Life, Patti Smith’s first album since 1979’s Wave, is released. The spiritually suffused set is highlighted by the anthemic “People Have the Power,”

1990

Richard “DNV” Sohl, keyboardist for the Patti Smith Group, dies of heart failure.

1994

Fred “Sonic” Smith, guitarist for the MC5 and Patti Smith’s spouse, dies of heart failure.

1996

Patti Smith releases Gone Again, an elegiac album that mourns lost love ones while deriving strength from their memories.

1997

Peace and Noise, Patti Smith’s seventh album, enters the charts for an abbreviated one-week stay.

2000

Patti Smith releases her eighth album, Gung Ho, and will launch a national tour in April.

2002

Land (1975-2002), a two-disc Patti Smith retrospective, is released.

2002

Strange Messenger, an exhibition of drawings, silk screens and photographs by Patti Smith, opens at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

2002

After a quarter century on Arista Records, Patti Smith signs with Columbia on the birthdate of French poet Arthur Rimbaud.

2004

Patti Smith’s Trampin’, her first album for Columbia Records, is released.

2005

Thirty years after its release, Patti Smith performs Horses in its entirety with her band at London’s Royal Festival Hall. The performance will serve as the bonus disc on the Legacy Edition reissue of Horses, released in December 2005.

2007

Patti Smith is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 22nd annual induction dinner. Zach de la Rocha is her presenter.

Patti Smith