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Fringe Feminists: Patti Smith

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Photo: Patti Smith: Horses by Lester Bangs

Creem Magazine, February 1976: 

Patti’s heroes may be gone, but she is both with us and for us, so strongly that her music is something, finally, to rally around. For one thing, she has certain qualities that can make her a hero to a whole generation of young girls; Patti has done more here for woman as aggressor than all the Liberation tracts published, and has pushed to the front of the media eye that it is just as much a process (ordeal) learning to “become” a “woman” as it is for men wrestling with all this ballyhoed “manhood” business. It’s this tough chick who walks like Bo Diddley and yet all is all woman like we’ve been waiting for so long, a badass who pulls off the feat of being simultaneously idol of women and lust object of men (and women, no doubt).

And even more than that, Patti’s music in its ultimate moments touches deep wellsprings of emotions that extremely few artists in rock or anywhere else are capable of reaching. With her wealth of promise and the most incandescent flights of and stillnesses of this album she joins the ranks of people like Miles Davis, Charlie Mingus, or the Dylan of “Sad Eyed Lady” and Royal Albert Hall. It’s that deeply felt, and that moving: a new Romanticism built upon the universal language of rock ‘n’ roll, an affirmation of life so total that, even in the graphic recognition of death, it sweeps your breath away. And only born gamblers take that chance.

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