When Horses was released in 1975, it was a huge shock for me, as for many of my generation. A specific composition, in this landmark masterpiece, had struck me in particular.


If Patti Smith’s voice and larger than life performance had immediately carried me in their flurry, the true meaning of Horses’ third track however escaped me for many years. My English at that time was more faltering than it is now and the record’s sleeve did not contain any lyrics. The only clues to the composition’s meaning were its title, and Lenny Kaye's aunting and magical guitar riffs -which evoked the shrill cawing of birds. I had to content myself with that.

Therefore, in the years that followed, Patti Smith’s chanted poem kept its mystery.
I would have to wait until around the 2000s, nearly twenty-five years, to take full cognizance of Birdland’s lyrics with a mere click on the Internet. However and meanwhile as time went on, I was more and more fascinated and intrigued by this composition. Thus, I took the habit of asking here and there around me what exactly this composition was about. Those who understood English much better than I did, revealed to me after listening to Birdland that it dealt with the story of a little boy in search of his dead father, aided in his quest by flocks of crows, all under the aegis of a mysterious alien spaceship black as ink, piloted by his progenitor, a kind of Deus in Machina pulling the strings of the plot, so to say.

Patti Smith
(Cornell University -1978
Author : Vistawhite / Source : Wikipedia


Lenny Kaye
(Germany -1979
Author : Klaus Hiltscher / Source : Wikipedia










© Jacques Benoit. Design, œuvres, photographies et textes par Jacques Benoit et placés sous son copyright. Les contenus provenant d'autres sources sont crédités comme tel, ainsi que leur origine.
© Jacques Benoit. Design, works, photographies and texts by Jacques Benoit and under the author’s copyright. Except when derived from other sources and then mentioned as such.