Skip to content

Reflections of a working writer and reader



Patti Smith – Horses

the album cover for 'horses'

“It was the most electrifying image I’d ever seen of a woman of my generation. The cover immediately went up on my living-room wall, as if it were a holy icon. It symbolised for me not only women’s new liberation but the fusion of high art and popular culture. Now, two decades later, I think that it ranks in art history among a half-dozen supreme images of modern woman since the French Revolution.”

The picture was taken by Robert Mapplethorpe. It was used as the cover for Horses, the debut album by American musician Patti Smith, released in 1975 on Arista Records. The record was a key factor and major influence on the New York punk rock scene.

6 Responses to “Patti Smith – Horses”

  1. Jim Murdoch says:

    I wonder if it’s because I’m a male that I didn’t give the cover a second thought, this skinny, slightly-androgynous, not-especially-good-looking young woman? At that shallow age I was interested in flesh but even when I finally did she a nude photo of her it did nothing much for me – she was just naked, I mean, what was the point in that? In 1975 the album cover my mates and I were all talking about was Wish You Were Here actually.

  2. Ali says:

    Horse’s is one of the most remarkable albums I listened to. The music was used to great effect on the Season II climax of the TV series MILLENNIUM



  3. john baker says:

    That would be the Pink Floyd album, Jim. Very different. And I remember talking about it also, the guy being burnt by the handshake. But I must say I was more stunned by the ambiguity of the cover of Horses.

  4. Dave Quayle says:

    hi John
    I was talking with an old friend about Patti Smith’s book, ‘Just kids’, which I thought was one of the great memoirs. He’d heard her reading from it on Radio4’s Book of the week and he took an opposite view, in particular her “going on about that photo like it was the Mona Lisa”. My response: “It is”. I’ve always admired Patti Smith but of late I’ve come to see her as one of the best and bravest we’ve had, very much her own woman. “I am an American artist” – yes, she is, up there with the poets, the real deal rather than the pouting rich boy Morrison who was once her hero. Great band leader too.

  5. WG says:

    Patti Smith Seems To Have Been Around All My Life.
    It is her passion that makes her rare. Few People
    can convince you that she feels deeply and loves
    you completely. WG

  6. allen payne says:

    I wonder how many of todays artist really know how her music influenced a lot of the music of today, not just punk, but grunge, and a lot of the alternative artist that the college kids think are so totally unique.Hell, I wonder how many of the college kids actually know who she is.