Punk rock influencer Patti Smith's debut album Horses released 48 years ago

Patti Smith's debut album has served as inspiration for many other bands throughout the years
Patti Smith Plays The Electric Ballroom, Atlanta
Patti Smith Plays The Electric Ballroom, Atlanta / Tom Hill/GettyImages

Patti Smith's debut album, Horses, was released on November 10, 1975, and had a significant influence on American punk music. The album has also become one of the greatest of all time.

Often referred to as a "punk poet laureate," Smith merged her love of poetry with rock and roll to create her sound. She is a talented individual known for her poetry and well as being a gifted singer, songwriter, painter, and author.

Her debut album, Horses, was produced by Welsh musician John Cale, formerly of the Velvet Underground, a partnership that Smith believed would create something similar to his own raw sound. The pair often disagreed, but despite their differences, the album became a success by ranking in the top 50 of the American Billboard 200 Albums chart

"“I hired the wrong guy. All I was really looking for was a technical person. Instead, I got a total maniac artist. It was really like A Season In Hell, for both of us.”

Patti Smith - regarding John Cale

Patti Smith's Horses 30th anniversary

In 2005, Smith celebrated the 30th anniversary of the album with a performance of the entire album at the Royal Festival Hall during the Meltdown Festival. She was joined by original band members Lenny Kaye and Jay Dee Daugherty, with Tony Shanahan on bass and piano, Tom Verlaine on guitar, and Flea on bass and trumpet.

The lyrics on Horses are noted as a perfect meld of Smith's poetry and punk, which has been said to blur the lines between the two. This lyrical genius and more has made it the album that sparked the punk explosion and would be influential in the the alternative rock, indie rock, and grunge movements that would follow.

""Horses—which became the first major-label punk-rock album when Arista unleashed it in 1975—not only helped spread the gospel of Bowery art-punk around the world, it set the tone for smart, unbending female rockers of generations to come.""

Variety Critic David Sprague

She has quite a legacy with musicians such as the Slits, R.E.M., Siouxie and the Banshees, KT Tunstall, Courtney Love, Morrisey, and more have sighted Smith's music, especially that on her debut album as inspiration for their own careers. Her influence can be heard in many of the songs these bands or individuals created, such as the Smiths, "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle," which uses a melody based on "Kimberly." Tunstall's "Suddenly I See" was written after she was inspired by Smith's cover image on the album.

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