We’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to bring you a very special performance from our favourite punk Godmother, Patti Smith, as she sings Chubby Checker’s classic ‘Let’s Twist Again’.
We’re never disappointed to find a new piece of footage, but we were beyond thrilled to find this clip of Smith singing not only ‘Gloria’ and ‘Land’ but a cover of Chubby Checker. It’s a joy which captures the vibrancy of her career and performance, right in the height of it.
The footage comes from a 1976 gig at the Cirque Royal in Brussels and sees Smith not only being interviewed but doing what she does best and effortlessly performing a host of incredible tracks from her brilliant seminal album Horses. It was a turning point for the singer and marks the moment she turned into a star.
“In English, it’s three aitches, head, heart and hand,” she says as he tries to describe what empowers her to be the queen of power she is, to enact her vision and message. She goes on to add: “It’s just believing in something… what made the wizard of Oz ‘The Wizard of Oz’? it was everybody believing in him” as she continues to offer the emboldening words of a woman confident in her own destiny.
She went on to talk about America and rock ‘n’ roll and the connection they enjoy” “I do not consider myself anywhere as foreign,” she said. “it does not matter if we do not speak the same language, in a concert, it’s like babbling… all the fervour and all the energy that I put in to painting or to write, I put it in the rock n roll, I use so much of my brain, my guts, my heart.”
As comforting and encouraging as Smith can be (and often is) in her words, her real power lies when she opens her mouth to sing and let the vocal ring out. On the first notes of ‘Gloria’ and those infamous words: “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine…” the Brussels crowd, with whom Smith and her band have a particular affiliation, know they’re in for a real performance.
The band went on to provide three encores for the crowd, though only Smith made it out for the third saying the band was exhausted. On this clip, she performs ‘Land’, ‘Gloria’ and a quite brilliant cover of Chubby Checkers’ ‘Let’s Twist Again’ and it lands square at the door of a Belgian crowd who are desperate for more.
Take a look at this incredibly rare performance below.