horsesvisions > paintings

Patti Smith made my parents queazy. They disliked everything about her. Her voice, her looks, her music and what my mother used to qualify as being “hysterical yells”.

I loved that. Including the yells, as well as those they provoked with my mother.

I played Horses loud in 1975. Quite loud. My mother screamed. My folks had already had to endure my Bowie transgender outfits, my Elton John platform boots that my dad considered with horror as a definitive proof of my innate perversion, and now I had long hair, and now I was wearing frowzy black slim jeans and now I had this silly shabby little black tie, hanging on a much too loose and ripped white shirt.
I was young.
They thought I was stupid.
I idolized Patti smith.
We all did, in my art school.
I had heard first about Horses through the press before the album’s release, not the French press though, because unlike many among my Paris school friends at the time, I had the privilege to understand more or less a bit of English (due to some extensive study of Elton John's lyricist Bernie Taupin’s lyrics and Bowie’s ones at night, with my flash light under the sheets when I was supposed to sleep). I used to buy all of Melody Maker, Sounds, New Musical Express and Rolling Stone, so I could always be aware of what would be big next.

The first time I was confronted to Patti Smith’s image was through the infamous Robert Mapplethorpe's shot, emblematic of Horses reproduced within some small articles dealing with this new mysterious Rock figure, whom the journalists called “The U.S version of "Rimbaud”. “Le petit Rimbaud du Rock”, would the French press later call her. Well I did not know how to call her. I had not heard anything yet. I was not even sure whether she was a boy or a girl.

But whatever she was, God, how great did she look.

And how great she did sound. As I could check at last, whenever the album landed at the Fnac ; I bought it the first day it was there in the racks, the first minute. I heard. I listened. I could not believe. A shock. I did not fell in love with Patti Smith’s first album like I had fallen in love with Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, or Elton John’s “Black Album” or his Madman Across The Water opus ; no ; I took Horses like a slamming door on my face.

Chants. Hypnosis.

Horses stuck to my turntable. I could never get enough of it. My mother screamed. Everyday routine. It was a drug. I had no idea of the hidden meaning of “Horses” then, but I swear that rarely some title would ever prove so adequate the day that I finally understood its double meaning…

Years passed but my addiction never stopped.

No matter what the critics would love or hate later about Radio Ethiopa, Easter or Wave, I loved Patti Smith no matter what, her voice, her attitude, her poetry, her music.

I saw her in Pantin Great Market Halls once.
One of the best concert in my life. So close from the stage. I think it was the Easter Tour. Deaf for one week, and happy as one can be. And years and years later, I would queue hours and hours to buy tickets when she was back again.










© 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.