“Punk godmother” Patti Smith recently received the Polar Music Prize, a prestigious Swedish award which has been given out annually since 1992 to notable talents from Bjork to Zeppelin.The late ABBA lyricist and manager Stig Anderson created the prize to recognize the musical achievements of artists from a variety of genres and cultures, ensuring that the world would thank him for more than just “Dancing Queen” (but seriously, Mr. Anderson, thank you for “Dancing Queen”).The Polar Music Prize website includes a biography of Smith, as well as a video featuring footage that will make Smith fans swoon, and this statement:
“The Polar Music Prize 2011 is being awarded to American poet and musician Patti Smith. By devoting her life to art in all its forms, Patti Smith has demonstrated how much rock ’n' roll there is in poetry and how much poetry there is in rock ’n' roll. Patti Smith is a Rimbaud with Marshall amps. She has transformed the way an entire generation looks, thinks and dreams. With her inimitable soul of an artist, Patti Smith proves over and over again that people have the power.”
The seemingly tireless Smith has been keeping busy (and winning plenty of acclaim for it) during the past couple of years; her memoirJust Kids was released in 2010, made me sob on a bus full of strangers, became a bestseller, won the National Book Award for non-fiction, and is reportedly being adapted for the screen. Smith has also been touring, recording, and showing her photographs in galleries (starting September 7, her “9.11: Babelogue” exhibit will be on display at the The Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery at Hunter College in New York).Outside Society, a collection of 18 songs spanning Smith’s career from 1975-2007, was just released on Columbia/Arista records; the album (packaged as a double-LP set) is a must-have for Patti Smith devotees and includes liner notes for each song written by Smith.
Congratulations to Patti Smith, my personal punk hero and no doubt an inspiration to countless others; may she make us think and feel, make us pick up our pens and guitars, and help us make our revolution music for years to come.