Wednesday, August 15, 2007

343. Patti Smith - Horses (1975)

Track Listing

1. Gloria
2. Redondo Beach
3. Birdland
4. Free Money
5. Kimberly
6. Break It Up
7. Land
8. Elegie


What a great run of albums we have been having lately, Horses is no exception. Known as one of the closes relatives of Punk in the proto-punk era. That is actually not a fair assessment of the album. It is far too literate and unique to be put squarely in the Punk or proto-punk field. The Stooges or The Dictators are much more what I would associate with punk. Actually I see much more of a line between Patti Smith and punk influenced pop groups like Blondie.

This is an amazing album which is very much only equal to itself but you can see how influential it was, particularly with female singers. The similarities with P. J. Harvey are sometimes staggering, there weren't many female singers with the kind of attitude presented in Horses at the time. The best female lyricist was Joni Mitchell who was coming from a much more folk-rockish background. This form of literate harder rock was really unprecedented with this kind of quality.

Horses is an indispensable album for anyone interested in the mid to late 70's music and its evolution. At the moment in 1975 it was shining alone as a beacon for things to come. So you really need to get this if you haven't already.

Track Highlights

1. Gloria
2. Land
3. Free Money
4. Redondo Beach

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

While Horses's commercial success was modest – it peaked at #47 on the U.S. Pop Albums chart – its impact has been far greater.

Smith has been called an early pioneer of punk rock. Allmusic's William Ruhlman said that it "isn't hard to make the case for Patti Smith as a punk rock progenitor based on Horses", while PopMatters' David Antrobus chose Horses as his favorite album and considered it a life-changing classic. Michael Stipe bought the album as a high school student and says it "tore my limbs off and put them back on in a whole different order." Morrissey and Johnny Marr shared an appreciation for the record, and one of their early compositions for The Smiths, "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle", is a reworking of "Kimberly".

Horses frequently appears on lists of the greatest rock albums. Mojo Magazine named the album the tenth greatest of all time in 1995. In 2001, VH1 named Horses the 28th greatest album of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 44 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

An episode of Millennium, "The Time Is Now", would later use the song "Land" in a bizarre "music video" sequence depicting a character's descent into madness.

In the Toy Machine skateboard video "Good and Evil", Johnny Layton used the song "Free Money" in his part.

Scottish musician K.T. Tunstall has said that her song, "Suddenly I See" was inspired by the cover of this album.


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