Patti Smith on How Jim Morrison Changed Her Life

by Joe Taysom
(Credit: Alamy)
(Credit: Alamy)

It goes without saying, Patti Smith is one of the true greats. Such is her undoubted stamp on the history of popular culture, it would be a struggle to find any music fan in their right mind who has nothing but the utmost regard for The Godmother of Punk.

Few people have enjoyed the kind of dynamic career that Smith has experienced so far; she has seen the good and the bad that the world has to offer and emerged smiling. Not everybody comes out smelling of roses from troubling circumstances, however, and Jim Morrison, the enigmatic leader of The Doors, offers the prime example of a rock ‘n’ roll tragedy.

During a Q&A on CBS some years ago, Smith answered a series of questions from a selection of her most loyal supporters. One topic in particular, however, provoked the most personal response. Smith was asked about a passage in her book which touched on her emotions of witnessing The Doors live act for the first time; a moment described as a life-affirming occurrence. Jim Morrison’s performance was so full of imperfections that it was complete to Smith, who, at that moment, had been instilled with the belief that she too could be a singer just like him. From that day on in Smith’s life, something changed in her mind, and she no longer had the struggles of self-doubt.


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