Wave is the fourth studio album by the Patti Smith Group, released May 17, 1979 on Arista Records. This album was less commercially successful than its predecessor, Easter, although it continued the band's move towards more radio-friendly mainstream pop music. It was produced by artist/producer Todd Rundgren.
The band broke up after this album was released, and Smith went on to marry Fred Smith. She spent many years in semi-retirement following the birth of their children, Jesse and Jackson, until her 1988 solo comeback album, Dream of Life. The 1996 remaster of Wave includes Smith's original version of "Fire of Unknown Origin." Blue Öyster Cult's version was released on their album of the same name in 1981. The back cover of the original LP bore a quote from the Jean Genet poem, "Le Condamné à mort:"
Oh go through the walls; if you must, walk on the ledges
Upon its release in 1979, the album garnered mixed reviews, attracting either positive or negative commentary on its polished production and conventionality. Reviewers such as Rolling Stone's Tom Carson, and Julie Burchill were not favourable in their reviews of the album, with the former negatively likening it to Radio Ethiopia, Smith's last album to be critically maligned and the latter concluding her review with "is this the blandest record in the world?". Simon Frith of Melody Maker was more appreciative of the album, praising Rundgren's hand in the production and considered the songs to represent a newfound focus for Smith and the band.