Patti Smith is a singer, writer and artist who became a highly influential figure in the New York City punk rock scene. After working on a factory assembly line, she began performing spoken word and later formed the Patti Smith Group Her most famous album is Horses. Her relationship with Fred "Sonic" Smith caused a hiatus in her singing career, but she returned to music after his untimely death and later earned acclaim for a series of autobiographical books. She was the eldest of four children born to Beverly Smith, a jazz singer turned waitress, and Grant Smith, a machinist at a Honeywell plant. After spending the first four years of her life on the south side of Chicago, Smith's family moved to Philadelphia in and then to Woodbury, New Jersey, in , when she was 9 years old. A tall, gangly and sickly child with a lazy left eye, Smith's outward appearance and shy demeanor gave no hint of the groundbreaking rock star she would become.
In she moved to New York City , where she became active in the downtown Manhattan arts scene, writing poetry and living with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Her performance-driven poetry readings soon took on a musical component, and from she worked regularly with the guitarist and critic Lenny Kaye. By they had formed a band and began performing widely in the downtown club scene. Signed to a contract with Arista Records, she released her first album, Horses , in ; it was produced by John Cale , the Welsh avant-gardist and cofounder with Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground. Her purest, truest album, it replicated her live shows better than any subsequent LP. Later albums of the s moved in a more commercial direction, with a pounding big beat that bludgeoned away some of her subtlety; at the same time, her concerts often became sloppy and undisciplined. After Radio Ethiopia she released her most commercially successful album, Easter , in
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