We’re big fans of the original punk poet, Patti Smith, here at Far Out. The singer remains a pioneering bastion of creative spirit and expressive performance. Her originality in the mid-seventies sets her apart from the crowd but the moment when she takes on the song of another is when her innate poetry really shines.
Patti Smith has covered some of the best and brightest talents of the music world, lending her unique vocal and impassioned performance to tracks from esteemed artists like Ramones, Bob Dylan, Nirvana, and many more. But one of our preferred covers comes from leftfield and it isn’t quite the song that you would expect Patti Smith to pick up, it’s her cover of The Monkees’ iconic song ‘Daydream Believer’ from 2011.
The singer who initially found fame following her mix of poetry and the new punk ethos that was beginning to swell around the trash-filled streets of New York, soon established herself as a far more encompassing artist. While her album Horses would propel Smith into the relative limelight, it was her unstoppable artistic drive which endeared her to so many’s hearts and continues to see her as a champion of punk spirit and creative endurance. Yet it is her ability to express another artist’s work that shows her true power.
The fan footage below captures just that and shows off the singer and poet standing in front of her crowd and, as she had done so many times, walking out with a lyric sheet preparing to sing a song you wouldn’t expect her to. Recorded at the iconic Parisian venue Cité de la Musique, Smith is calm, confident and at the top of her game, singing a song that was guaranteed to bring a smile to the audience.
Patti Smith is, above all else, authentic. It can be seen in her lyrics that are unabashed, charismatic and honest throughout, whether dealing with love or religion, they remain true enough to Smith’s outlook. It can be seen in her blood, sweat and tears performances. But perhaps most potently it can be seen in her covers when she, a fan like anybody else at that point, sings her heart out for the love of another’s work.
The performance below catches all of that passion and joy and you can almost see on the singer’s smiling face just how pleased she is to be singing such a track. Whatever your feelings on The Monkees, the fabricated band created for a TV show, are, there can be no doubt that ‘Daydream Believer’ is an iconic song. Here, Smith sings it with glee. The footage is a little ropey and the sound equally so but the feeling of the performance is up there with her most charismatic.
Watch Patti Smith perform The Monkees’ ‘Daydream Believer’ back in 2011 below: