Patti Smith

Dennis Elsas and Patti Smith

Dennis Elsas and Patti Smith

The first time I ever heard a Patti Smith record I didn’t know what to make of it. It was her cover of Van Morrison’s “Gloria”, a favorite AM hit of mine from the mid-60’s by the Chicago band The Shadows of Knight. Patti’s version was not just different, it was startling – mixing spoken word, religious references and her distinctive voice with a rock‘n’roll backbeat. When Arista Records released her debut album Horses in 1975 they asked me to provide the voice-over for the radio commercial that was aimed at letting the audience know just what this new artist was all about.. Almost 20 years later I got to ask Patti to explain it all to me when she came to WFUV for a live performance with her band to promote her then new album Trampin’. Here’s the original commercial from 1975 followed by highlights from my interview and her performance in 2004.

Click here to listen to the full interview.