I’m sharing this again because the previous videos I linked to on Youtube disappeared. Here’s a chance to catch them while you can.
One of my most vivid rock ‘n’ roll memories was seeing Patti Smith’s first performance on The Mike Douglas Show in 1977. Imagine how dumbstruck daytime TV viewers must have been seeing The Patti Smith Group popping up between episodes of As The World Turns and re-runs of Dobie Gillis. Hell, I was even blown away!
I actually had to go to a friend’s house to watch Patti on the Douglas show because I didn’t own a TV set. It was the first time I saw her perform live and it confirmed everything I imagined The Patti Smith Group would be: wild, inspired, unadulterated rock n’ roll. And part of what made this particular performance so bona fide is Patti and the band didn’t condescend to or mock the daytime TV format they were operating in. They put their hearts into it. Every fucking show mattered to them, whether it was sandwiched between soap operas or on the stage of legendary Manhattan punk clubs. Patti was a punk without the wiseass, holier-than-thou bullshit. She wanted to spread the rock gospel throughout the nation, from the Bowery to double-wides in middle America. Everybody was invited to the party.