Patricia Lee Smith, 30 December 1946, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Smith was raised in New Jersey and became infatuated by music, principally the Rolling Stones, the Velvet Underground, Jimi Hendrix and James Brown. After relocating to New York City in 1967, she lived with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe for a period. Her initial talent focused on poetry, rock journalism and art, while her first major label recording was a version of a Jim Morrison poem on Ray Manzareks (both Doors) solo album. Her early writing, captured on three anthologies, Seventh Heaven, Kodak and Witt, was inspired by Arthur Rimbaud and William Burroughs, but as the 70s progressed she was increasingly drawn towards fusing such work with rock. In 1971, Smith was accompanied by guitarist Lenny Kaye for a reading in St. Marks Church, and this informal liaison continued for three years until the duo was joined by Richard Sohl (piano) in the first Patti Smith Group. Their debut recording,...
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