Patti Smith – Outside Society

January 01, 1970



“Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine.” I’ll
be damned if that isn’t the greatest opening line to a song ever written. It
is, of course, the first strain of Patti Smith’s rewiring of “Gloria”
by Them. And just as that iconic couplet kicked off the Bowery punk laureate’s
1975 debut masterpiece Horses, so too
does it launch her second Best Of package and first single disc overview of her
four-decade career in music. 


Covering the cream of her Arista years on through to her
recent migration to Columbia Records, Outside
serves as a more streamlined document of Patti’s career than its  2003 predecessor Land: 1975-2003 in that it offers a more chronological perspective
which, in many ways, offers more prominence to the creative arc in her music.
And while much ado always gets made of her seventies material, songs like
“Summer Cannibals” from 1996’s Gone
, “Glitter In Their Eyes” from 2000’s Gung Ho, the epic title cut from her 2004 Columbia debut Trampin’ and her moody, drastic reading
of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” off her latest LP, 2007’s
all-covers Twelve, deserve as much
respect and admiration as old warhorses like “Because the Night”,
“Rock N Roll Nigger”, “Dancing Barefoot” and “People
Have The Power”. Eloquent anecdotes written by Smith herself on each of
the 18 tracks are featured in the liner notes, revealing such insights as the
reason behind the Patti Smith Group’s cover of The Byrds’ “So You Wanna Be
a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” from 1979 Wave,
which was in response to Sid Vicious attacking Patti’s brother Todd with a
broken bottle in a New York City bar, and the fact that “Up There Down
There” from 1988’s Dream of Life was
written the day Andy Warhol died.


Outside Society serves
as an excellent primer for the young person looking to delve into the genius of
Patti Smith for the first time as well as an essential addition to the record
shelf of any seasoned fan well versed in the catalog of this high priestess of
rock ‘n’ roll.


DOWNLOAD: “Gloria”, “Rock N Roll Nigger”, “So You Want To Be A
Rock N Roll Star”, “Up There Down There”, “Summer
Cannibals”, “Glitter In Their Eyes”, “Smells Like Teen
Spirit” RON HART



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