R.E.M. and Patti Smith are two acts that create something bigger than themselves. Whenever they share the stage, both acts somehow elevate their already godlike ability to another level which creates an unstoppable force of nature as this cover of The Stooges’ ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ is evidence of.
There has been great mutual respect shared between the iconic duo of Smith and R.E.M. for a number of decades, both sharing the stage on countless occasions and Smith even featuring on the band’s 1996 track ‘E-Bow The Letter’ which appeared on their album New Adventures in Hi-Fi.
It was only fitting that 11 years on from that timeless collaboration that they decided to share the stage once more when they were both being inducted into the 2007 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The only slight on the performance is the audience, who are all suited and booted in their seats rather than being fully transfixed by the greatness which is on stage in front of them.
There is tangible chemistry between Patti Smith and Michael Stipe who seem to be operating at the top of the game all while having incredible fun. The positive energy that they transmit through their rendition of ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ is infectious and is sure to beam a giant smile across your face.
Speaking about their 1996 collaboration, Peter Buck is on record as stating in an interview about the record following its release: “We wanted to have Patti Smith on the choruses as relief from the monodramatic type of feeling of the verse,” he said. “And Patti was great, she did a really fine performance.”
Mike Mills then revealed that this wasn’t the first time that they actually got in contact with Patti to collaborate: “She came to see us when we were touring and we’re all big fans of hers. She came up and did one of her songs – Dancing Barefoot – with us a few times. And so when we made the new record we asked if she’d like to sing on this song and she said ‘yes’.”
Adding: “We’re very glad she did. We actually wanted her to sing on ‘Everybody Hurts‘ from the Automatic for the People album, but she was busy with her family, and she was working, and being a mother and a wife.”
There is a special kind of energy which is conveyed when these two irresistible forces of nature come together as one to create a new breed of magic and bring out a carefree, relaxed, attitude in one another which is an absolute joy to behold.