At a time when millions of people are stuck at home in self-isolation, Patti Smith has been reflecting on her expansive career and the wealth of artists that have influenced her creative vision over the years.
With eleven critically acclaimed studio albums, three live albums and two EPs released since Smith shared her critically acclaimed debut record Horses in 1975, Smith’s Beat poetry-infused lyrics have repeatedly propelled her status to that of rock royalty.
While Smith has always pointed out that her contemporaries have inspired her to keep creating, the likes of Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and more, she rarely divulges the songs closely affiliated to specific moments in her life. Now, as part of a new conversation with podcast host and sound designer and DJ Arman Naféei, Smith has outlined been discussing the soundtrack to her life and, more specifically, the rock icon that she holds dearest to her heart.
Naféei, who has also held a position of the music director for hotels like the Chateau Marmont, the Chiltern Firehouse and the Standard and more, welcomes a new special guest each week to have a short conversation about the sounds that have shaped their lives. During his conversation with Smith, the interview turned to her time immersed within the rock and roll culture of those who frequented the historic Chelsea Hotel during the 1980s.
“What music do you associate with your time at the Chelsea Hotel?” the show host asks Smith.
“Well at the Chelsea Hotel I was listening to, of course, a lot of Bob Dylan,” she began. However, it was one person specifically who remains Smith’s all time favourite: “Jimi Hendrix who is probably my favourite singer, songwriter and performer in the history of rock and roll,” she said with huge praise.
Elsewhere in the conversation, Smith detailed some of the other icons she frequented during her time at the Chelsea: “I was listening to a lot of Johnny Winter who was living in the hotel, just the music of the time that I loved. But also people like Tim Buckley and Tim Hardin. I was living Robert Mapplethorpe at the time and we didn’t have much money. We didn’t have a very big record collection and we just sort of listened to the same songs, the same records over and over and they still touch me. Naturally, though, I’ve listened to a lot of Bob Dylan.”
When discussing love songs, Smith opens up about her late husband Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith who passed away in 1994 at the age of 46. “At my age, I’m 73, I don’t have a companion these days I have my children, I have my friends but I have my memories. I had a really unbelievably great husband, a brilliant and beautiful man and some songs when I’m very sad draw me to him because I was widowed young. Then some songs that are falling in love songs also take me to him. I could think of him while listening to ‘He’s a Rebel’ or I could listen to the Annie Lennox song ‘No More I Love You’s’. Such a sad song, I think that came out when he passed away.”
Stream the full podcast, below.