Easter (Patti Smith Group album)

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Easter
Studio album by Patti Smith Group
Released March 3, 1978 (1978-03-03)
Recorded 1977 (1977); Record Plant, NYC;
House of Music, West Orange, NJ
Genre Rock, punk rock
Length 39:44
Label Arista
Producer Jimmy Iovine
Patti Smith Group chronology
Radio Ethiopia
(1976)
Easter
(1978)
Wave
(1979)
Singles from Easter
  1. "Because the Night"
    Released: 1978 (1978)
  2. "Privilege (Set Me Free)"
    Released: 1978 (1978)

Easter is an album by the Patti Smith Group, released in March 1978 on Arista Records (see 1978 in music). Produced by Jimmy Iovine, it is regarded as the group's commercial breakthrough, owing to the success of the single, "Because the Night" (co-written by Bruce Springsteen and Smith), which reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100[1] and #5 in the UK.[2]

History[edit]



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The first album released since Smith had suffered a neck injury while touring for Radio Ethiopia, Easter has been called the most commercially accessible of the Patti Smith Group's catalogue. Unlike its two predecessors, Easter incorporated a diversity of musical styles, though still including classic rock and roll ("25th Floor/High on Rebellion", "Rock N Roll Nigger"), folk ("Ghost Dance"), spoken word ("Babelogue") and pop music ("Because the Night"). Easter is the only 1970s album of Smith's that does not feature Richard Sohl as part of the Patti Smith Group; in one interview at the time, Smith stated that Sohl was sick and this prevented him from participating in recording the album. Bruce Brody is credited as the keyboard player, Richard Sohl makes a guest appearance contributing keyboards to "Space Monkey", along with Blue Öyster Cult keyboardist Allen Lanier. The cover photograph is by Lynn Goldsmith and liner notes photography by Cindy Black and Robert Mapplethorpe.

Religious imagery[edit]

In addition to the religious allusion of its title, the album is replete with biblical and specifically Christian imagery. "Privilege (Set Me Free)" is taken from the British fame- and authoritarianism-satirizing film Privilege; its lyrics are adapted from Psalm 23. The LP insert reproduces a First Communion portrait of Frederic and Arthur Rimbaud, and Smith's notes for the song "Easter" invoke Catholic imagery of baptism, communion and the blood of Christ. A solitary hand-drawn cross is placed below the group member credits on the sleeve insert, and the last sentence of the liner notes is a quote from Second Epistle to Timothy 4:7 -- "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course..."

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [3]
Creem [4]
Robert Christgau A−[5]
Rolling Stone (not rated)[6]

The album was highly acclaimed upon its release. Writing in Rolling Stone, Dave Marsh called the album "transcendent and fulfilled."[7] In Creem, Nick Tosches described it as "an album of Christian obsessions, especially those of death and resurrection", and called it Smith's "best work."[8] Lester Bangs, on the other hand, began his pan of the album, "Dear Patti, start the revolution without me." Bangs contended that while Horses had changed his life, Easter "is just a very good album."[9] It listed number 14 in The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics' poll of the best albums of 1978,[10] while NME magazine ranked the album 46th best of the year .[11]

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Till Victory"   Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye 2:45
2. "Space Monkey"   Smith, Ivan Kral, Tom Verlaine 4:04
3. "Because the Night"   Smith, Bruce Springsteen 3:32
4. "Ghost Dance"   Smith, Kaye 4:40
5. "Babelogue"   Smith 1:25
6. "Rock N Roll Nigger"   Smith, Kaye 3:13

Side two[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
7. "Privilege (Set Me Free)"   Mel London, Mike Leander, Psalm 23 3:27
8. "We Three"   Smith 4:19
9. "25th Floor"   Smith, Kral 4:01
10. "High on Rebellion"   Smith 2:37
11. "Easter"   Smith, Jay Dee Daugherty 6:15

Bonus track (CD reissue)[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
12. "Godspeed"   Smith, Kral 6:09

Personnel[edit]

Additional personnel[edit]

  • Richard Sohl – keyboards on "Space Monkey"
  • Allen Lanier – keyboards on "Space Monkey"
  • John Paul Fetta – bass on "Till Victory" & "Privilege"
  • Andi Ostrowe – percussion on "Ghost Dance"
  • Jim Maxwell – bagpipes on "Easter"
  • Tom Verlaine - arrangement on "We Three" (in 1974)
  • Todd Smith – head of crew

Technical personnel[edit]

Design personnel[edit]

Liner notes[edit]

In the insert with the original LP release (reproduced in the 1996 reissue), Smith's self-penned liner notes refer, among other things, to:

Charts[edit]

Year Chart Peak
position
1978 Norway[12] 10
Sweden[12] 34
UK Albums Chart[2] 16
Billboard Pop Albums[13] 20

Certification[edit]

Organization Level Date
BPIUK Silver August 29, 1978 (1978-08-29)[14]

Release history[edit]

Date Label Format Catalog
March 1978 Arista Records LP 4171
1996 Arista Records CD
2007 Sony BMG CD 37929

Legacy[edit]

The cover photograph of Smith is represented in the cover artwork of Green Day's 1994 album Dookie.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Easter > Chart & Awards – Billboard Singles". allmusic. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  2. ^ a b "UK Album Charts". Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  3. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r18301
  4. ^ Review from Creem Jun 78
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Easter". Robert Christgau. 
  6. ^ 20 Apr 78
  7. ^ Marsh, Dave (1978-04-20). "Easter: Music review". Issue 263. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2008-02-29. 
  8. ^ Tosches, Nick (June 1978). "Review of "Easter"". Creem. Retrieved 2008-02-29. 
  9. ^ Bangs, Lester (May 1978). "Patti Smith's Top 40 Insurrection". Phonograph Record magazine. Retrieved 2008-02-29. 
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert (1979-01-22). "Critics Poll". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2008-02-29. 
  11. ^ "Best of All-time Lists". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved 2008-02-29. 
  12. ^ a b "European charts". Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  13. ^ "Easter > Chart & Awards". allmusic. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  14. ^ "Certified Awards". British Phonographic Industry. 1978-08-29. Retrieved 2008-04-02. [dead link]

External links[edit]