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

Johnny Devlin: Matador Baby (1958)

Johnny Devlin: Matador Baby (1958)

It's widely known that Johnny Devlin was New Zealand's own Elvis Presley -- but unlike Elvis, Devlin wrote his own material. Certainly he covered the hits of the day -- Hand Jive, Wild One,... > Read more

Ann Peebles: I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody's Home (1972)

Ann Peebles: I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody's Home (1972)

Well, if anybody in '72 could break up somebody's home it would have been the steamy Ann Peebles who delivered this classic Memphis soul gem and the following year cemented her reputation with two... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

ELTON JOHN REVIEWED (2020): Still a Captain Fantastic, despite everything

ELTON JOHN REVIEWED (2020): Still a Captain Fantastic, despite everything

Back at the dawn of recorded time, 1971 in fact, I saw Elton John's first New Zealand appearance when he played at Western Springs. And there were a few worrying moments last night at Mt Smart... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Tony Abbott of the Gary Harvey Band

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Tony Abbott of the Gary Harvey Band

The name Tony Abbott might not be that familiar, but his searing and/or sensitive guitar playing has been a hallmark of albums by the long-running Gary Harvey Band, and before that in Gary Harvey... > Read more