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2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Patti Smith Onstage at the Induction Ceremony

Patti Smith

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  • Inducted by:
    Zach de la Rocha
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2007 Inductee Patti Smith

The high priestess of punk-poetry.

Rock was getting too slick for its own good when Patti Smith burst on the scene and tore it apart. She shrieked and howled literate yet street-savvy lyrics, unflinchingly confronting topics from religion to the Beat movement.

Hall of Fame Essay


Jaan Uhelszki

Patti Smith isn’t like the rest of us. Blame it on the childhood bout with scarlet fever that left her with recurring hallucinations a few years after her birth, in 1946.

Or perhaps on her view of faith. “They were open-minded people,” she once said. “They had interests that ranged from horse racing to religion to UFOs,” causing Smith to pursue religion for most of her childhood - but never catch it.

“I started out as a missionary, but I couldn’t find a religion that didn’t promise things to some people to the exclusion of others. The personal voyage into some kind of light shouldn’t be denied to anybody.”

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Program Cover 2007
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2007 Inductee Patti Smith

The opening to “Gloria” might be one of the greatest moments in American music.

Zach de la Rocha

Photography: Kevin Mazur, WireImage

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