Punk poet Patti Smith puts personal touch on classic tunes

Columbia Records will release ‘Twelve’ – the eagerly-anticipated album of “cover” versions of classic popular songs newly interpreted by the 2007 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Patti Smith, on Tuesday, April 24th.

‘Twelve’ is Patti Smith’s first album of new studio recordings since ‘Trampin’’ (her Columbia Records debut) was released in 2004, and is the artist’s first-ever full-length collection of songs originally created by other performers.

On ‘Twelve,’ Patti Smith and her band – Lenny Kaye (guitar), Jay Dee Daugherty (drums) and Tony Shanahan (bass, keyboards) – work their magic on a surprising selection of classic songs and overlooked treasures from the rock & roll canon including “Pastime Paradise” by Stevie Wonder, “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” by Tears for Fears and “Helpless” by Neil Young.

Also on ‘Twelve,’ Smith and company interpret songs by Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, the Doors, Nirvana, Jefferson Airplane, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Allman Brothers, and Paul Simon.

An assortment of guest artists appear with Patti on ‘Twelve’ including Italian cellist Giovanni Sollima; playwright Sam Shepard (with whom Patti collaborated on “Cowboy Mouth” in 1971) on banjo; early 60s Greenwich Village folk artists John Cohen (banjo) and Peter Stampfel (fiddle); Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea; Television guitarist Tom Verlaine; the Black Crowes’ Rich Robinson on slide guitar and dulcimer; hip-hop producer Luis Resto (Eminem) on keyboards. Patti’s son, Jackson, and daughter, Jesse, are on-hand to contribute guitar and vocal respectively.

Patti Smith, whose seminal rock & roll album ‘Horses’ was released in 1975, was presented with the prestigious insignia of Commander of the Order of the Arts and Letters by French Cultural Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres at a ceremony in Paris on July 10, 2005. Cited as an esteemed rock & roll poet laureate, Patti was praised by the French Cultural Ministry as “one of the most influential artists in women’s rock ‘n’ roll.” The citation also noted Smith’s deep appreciation of the 19th century French poet Arthur Rimbaud.

She was recently named one of the five inductees in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2007 along with R.E.M., Van Halen, the Ronettes, and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Patti Smith was officially inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame during a ceremony at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on March 12. “It’s a great honor to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” said Smith.

While her groundbreaking vision of “three chord rock merged with the power of the word” has ensured her place in rock & roll history, Patti Smith has, throughout her career, developed a reputation as one of pop music’s foremost interpreters, visiting the songs of other musical artists and transforming them through the lens of her own understanding, appreciation and imagination.

Beginning with her first single, “Hey Joe,” in 1974 and her extrapolations of Van Morrison’s “Gloria” and Chris Kenner’s “Land of 1,000 Dances” on her seminal Horses album in 1975 through her live performances of songs ranging from “You Light Up My Life” to “My Generation” to her new album, Twelve, Patti Smith continues to reshape popular music’s classic source materials and make them her own.

‘Twelve’ is now available for pre-order at Amazon. Visit the music database for more information and a complete track listing.

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