Patti Smith: So You Want to be a Rock'n'Roll Star (1979)

 |   |  <1 min read

Patti Smith: So You Want to be a Rock'n'Roll Star (1979)

Although the Byrds' 1967 original of this much covered rock classic has a significant sarcasm to it, the lyrical bite was ameliorated by the Byrds' close harmony and airy delivery, and the patched-in screams which added a sense of excitement.

By this time the Byrds had tuned in and turned on, and they were a little older than the stars coming up through the pages of Seventeen magazine so had some cynicism about pop and rock'n'roll stardom.

Patti Smith's version was on her album Wave -- and is now included on her Outside Society 18 song compilation, her first such collection of hits and favourites -- and has a more obviously bitter sneer.

In the liner notes she says it was recorded at Woodstock during a snow storm.

"The improvisation accesses the empowerment rock and roll affords the artists as well as the toll it can exact. It relates specifically to the violent attack by an emotionally torn Sid Vicious on my brother Todd with a broken bottle in a New York nightclub.

"Both of them are now deceased, but they are embedded, like strange brothers, within our performance."

For more on-offs or songs with an interesting back-story see From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Massiel: La La La (1968)

Massiel: La La La (1968)

In 1968 middle-class, middle-aged (and some kids) Britain held a collective breath. That year the Eurovision Song Contest was being hosted at the Royal Albert Hall, after a bare-footed Sandie Shaw... > Read more

Jackie De Shannon: She Don't Understand Him Like I Do (1964)

Jackie De Shannon: She Don't Understand Him Like I Do (1964)

Jackie De Shannon (born Sharon Lee Myers) had great hits and an even better life: As a teenager in Illinois she recorded and wrote a few songs; Eddie Cochran heard a couple of her country tunes and... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Angela's Low-fat Moist Cake which serves 12!

Angela's Low-fat Moist Cake which serves 12!

This is Angela's recipe under the very enticing (and somewhat healthy) title, and one which she says is a New Zealand adaption -- or is that "adaptation"? I've got into this discussion... > Read more

SPOTIFY'S HQ IN SWEDEN: The quiet revolution

SPOTIFY'S HQ IN SWEDEN: The quiet revolution

The ambience of the Stockholm headquarters of Spotify – the world's fastest growing online music streaming service – isn't what you might expect. No skateboard-riding computer nerds... > Read more