December 14, 2016

"But when it was announced that Bob Dylan had won the prize and accepted, it seemed no longer fitting for me to sing my own song."

"I found myself in an unanticipated situation, and had conflicting emotions. In his absence, was I qualified for this task? Would this displease Bob Dylan, whom I would never desire to displease? But, having committed myself and weighing everything, I chose to sing 'A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,' a song I have loved since I was a teen-ager, and a favorite of my late husband...."

Writes Patti Smith.

14 comments:

James Hofbauer said...

I adore Patti Smith, her voice with Michael Stipe on 'E-bow the Letter' mezmireses in its haunting. I imagine Dylan found her performance perfect.

James Hofbauer said...

The New Yorker articles are interesting. I had assumed Dylan asked her to sing.

Robert Cook said...

I saw Patti Smith in 1978 (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, then a young band on the rise, was her opening act). It was one of the top five concerts I've ever seen. She is absolutely charismatic and compelling in live performance.

FullMoon said...

Dylan will perform at inauguration, pass it on

Big Mike said...

Paywalled.

Gahrie said...

I prefer the one from Scandal.

walter said...

When does James Taylor get his Nobel for his recent work abroad?
Funny though that he's more qualified for it than Obama was.

Oso Negro said...

She should have gone with Rock and Roll Nigger.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Neighborhood Bully.

urbane legend said...

Patti, it's just a song. It isn't the meaning of life. I doubt Bob Dylan lost much sleep over your performance. If you had sung Dead Skunk In The Middle Of The Road , that would be an entirely different question.

Wilbur said...

I couldn't have gotten through the day w/o hearing from Ms. Smith on this.

madAsHell said...

She had a husband?....with a penis?

EDH said...

"In his absence, was I qualified for this task? Would this displease Bob Dylan, whom I would never desire to displease?"

You'd think she'd just pick up the phone and ask him. It was Dylan who coaxed Patti Smith to join him back on the road in 1995 after her hiatus. I was backstage at three of the earliest shows. Despite Dylan's low-key wandering around, Al Giordano captures (and slightly exaggerates) the reclusive vibe of Dylan that makes him a larger than life enigma to even the people you'd think would know him pretty well.

...Dylan's band is rehearsing "Tangled Up in Blue" on the stage, and the reclusive man himself is there, a hooded sweatshirt pulled up over his face. The joke on the Smith tour bus is, "If you see Dylan, DON'T look at him!" The Smith entourage has separate dressing rooms from Dylan and his band [Giordano exaggerates, separate dressing rooms not unusual]. And I've been told by Edwards that the Dylan people, never happy to have a reporter around, will kick me off the tour for the slightest infraction. I'm trying to be invisible...

Patti opens her set, and her fans throng the front of the stage, while the old Dylan hippies lay back to see what she's all about. Dylan himself, still hooded, appears at the side of the stage and watches....

We arrive at the Worcester Auditorium [next]. It's the second night of the tour, and Dylan still has not shaken hands with Patti, much less conversed with her. We're in her backstage area, a huge, vacant space, with a bathroom and a side room. No windows. The side room is a little 12-by-15 foot box, grimy yellow paint chipping off the walls to reveal ghosts of white plaster, a lone light bulb hanging in the middle. Stipe's eyes light up: "A rock video room!"

Patti walks into the big room, wearing her Dylan hood, and the boys jump to their feet and place the biggest chair in the corner for her. Jessie Zoldak, the Boston rocker from the band Yuk who, with Jamaica Plain's Patti Hudson, takes care of much of Patti Smith's personal business, strolls in with her camera. Stipe grabs his. Oliver loads his old squeezebox Polaroid. An orgy of photographing ensues.

Mark Edwards, always with a clipboard, bursts into the room and, glancing at me, asks, "Do you want to be alone, Patti?"

"I never want to be alone," she replies, dispatching him...

Next Day in Boston

...During tonight's sound check, Patti finally encountered Dylan. She did not fall on her knees, my sources report. She asked for, and was granted, more time for her nightly sound check, and she asked that Bob say hello to her son, Jackson, when he joins us in Philadelphia. But there's no word on what else they talked about. She had told me last week that the song she really wants to sing with him is "Dark Eyes," an obscure number from his Empire Burlesque album, which she has performed acoustically a few times this year. We'll see.

During Dylan's set, Lenny Kaye is dancing in the aisles with a bunch of wild rock-and-rollers from Boston. Patti is by the side of the stage, no doubt projecting her womanly charms. Allen Ginsberg is in front of the stage, snapping pictures, and Elsa Dorfman is shooting photos of Ginsberg shooting photos. Dylan's security gang can't tell him to stop.


http://thephoenix.com/Boston/news/135279-on-the-road-with-patti-smith-and-bob-dylan/

Bill said...

She and her late husband raised two terrific kids, both musicians.