Legendary Songwriter Patti Smith Given Key to the City in NYC

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

If she wasn’t already a Big Apple Hero, now it’s set in stone. Er, key.

Either way, legendary songwriter Patti Smith was honored by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday (December 27) and officially given the key to the city.

The artist, whose album Horses is still one of the most cherished to date, has become a living legend in the music community. As such, she was honored in her home city.

Said Mayor de Blasio, “There are many artists out there, many musicians out there, but there was only one Patti Smith. Patti Smith had an authenticity and has an authenticity that you just didn’t find that many other places—an ability to cut through all the swirl around us and speak some more profound truths.”

The 74-year-old Chicago-born Smith, who later moved to New Jersey and then to New York in the ‘70s during the rise of the punk rock scene, said upon receiving the key to the city of New York, “I came here in 1967 from a rural area of South Jersey. I had just a few dollars in my pocket, nowhere to stay, no real prospects. But I came here to get a job and see what I was made of. And I found that the city, with all of its diversities and possibilities if you’re willing to work, if you maintain your enthusiasm, you’ll make it.”

Along with Smith, de Blasio honored Senator Chuck Schumer and music businessman Clive Davis. The mayor’s term ends at the end of the calendar year on December 31, 2021.

Smith performed a rendition of her 1978 song, “Ghost Dance,” with longtime collaborator Lenny Kaye, which you can see below. The mayor’s Twitter account shared the performance along with the tweet that read, “#PattiSmith has the key to our city and the key to our hearts.”

Check out Smith’s version of the Bruce Springsteen-penned song, “Because The Night,” here below.

Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage

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