The year 1975,, in terms of the pop music landscape, doesn’t stand out in the way benchmark years such as 1963, 1977 and 1992 did, but its impact would be felt for years to follow.
Thirty-eight years ago, Bruce Springsteen released “Born to Run,” which nearly four decades later is still considered by many his masterpiece. Another benchmark, Led Zeppelin’s “Physical Graffiti,” also flew off the shelves and is arguably the hard rock titans' last classic set.
That year also saw the release of a pair of sets by two female songwriting icons that would serve as touchstones and influences for generations of songsmiths of both sexes; Patti Smith’s “Horses” and “The Hissing of Summer Lawns” by Joni Mitchell.
For then-newcomer Smith, “Horses” has proven to be one heck of an introduction; long considered punk’s poet laureate, the New York-based songsmith and poet expanded punk's musical parameters with her debut as well as gave listeners then and now much more to soak in lyrically then many of her East Coast punk peers. Legions of female songstresses have cited Smith and “Horses” as an influence, as have the likes of R.E.M., Morrissey and K.T. Tunstall.
On the other side of the country, Mitchell, then hot off her mega-selling 1974 pop fave “Court and Spark,” chucked the smooth L.A. pop stylings for complex, jazzier sonics and some of her finest lyrics ever with “Hissing.” Fans and scribes looking for “Court and Spark II” were disappointed, but “Hissing” served as a door for future songsmiths and musicians – none other than Prince has extolled the set's virtues - to ignore convention and follow their muse.
Both Smith and Mitchell would find their share of hits and misses following “Horses” and “Hissing,” but their places as groundbreaking songsmiths have and remain sound today. While Mitchell has bid adieu to the music world with 2007’s “Shine,” Smith continues to impress; last year, she released “Banga,” her first original collection in nine years and a more-than worthy addition to her already stellar catalog.
Patti Smith, 8:30 p.m. May 6, Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago. $37.50 (18 and older). FYI: (773) 472-0449, JAMUSA.COM
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For more information, contact the venues or ticket sales agencies listed below. Unless otherwise indicated, all shows are all-ages.
Kid Rock, ZZ Top, Uncle Cracker, Aug. 30, First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre (JAMUSA.COM)
Mudhoney, Aug. 31, Mayne Stage (18 and older, MAYNESTAGE.COM)
Selena Gomez, Nov. 22, Allstate Arena (ALLSTATEARENA.COM)
Christopher Owens, June 12, The Hideout (21 and older, HIDEOUTCHICAGO.COM)
Rogue Wave, June 27-28, Lincoln Hall (June 27 show 18 and older, LINCOLNHALLCHICAGO.COM)
The Tubes, June 28, City Winery (21 and older, CITYWINERY.COM)
Godsmack, July 20, The Venue at Horseshoe Casino (21 and older, HORSESHOEHAMMOND.COM)
Macy Gray, May 28-29, City Winery (21 and older, CITYWINERY.COM)
Orgone, June 14, Schubas (18 and older, SCHUBAS.COM)
Dead Confederate, May 30, Lincoln Hall (18 and older, LINCOLNHALLCHICAGO.COM)