PATTI SMITH : Hey Joe (Version) (1974)

On the off chance you've not heard it before (it's a nightmare to track down afterall), here's Patti Smith's cover (of Jimi Hendrix's cover of The Leaves' cover) of Billy Roberts' "Hey Joe". Her debut, it was recorded at Electric Ladyland in 1974 in glorious mono, financed by her long-term confidante Robert Mapplethorpe, & released through their own Mer label. Her group at this point consisted of Lenny Kaye (guitar), Tom Verlaine (guitar) & Richard Sohl (piano), with Kaye also bagging the production credit. The b-side is the better known, arguably superior "Piss Factory", Patti's semi-autobiographical, semi-Surrealistic detailing of woeful factory assembly line travail. Though an outstanding track, "Piss Factory" is easily obtainable c/o the Land compilation so I'm not including it here. Satisfyingly, both sides of the 7" have retained their propensity to astonish, their allusions to Patty Heart, the S.L.A. & Rimbaud, combined with the singularly baroque sound, defiantly placing the group well outside the early 70s, Eagles-inhabited "rock" enclosure. One of the greatest singles ever, basically.


  1. Patti's handling of HEY JOE precedes her like usage of GLORIA and LAND OF A THOUSAND DANCES. Like John Coltrane with MY FAVORITE THINGS, she takes material familiar and palatable to her audience and uses it as a vehicle for her gifts.
    Patti needed a certain degree of stardom as a platform to launch her vision. She studied, apprenticed, prepared, and when she finally stepped into the proverbial ring, she knew, like Cassius Clay a decade earlier, that she was bringing something people hadn't seen or heard before. She was ready, and her audience was ready. Dylan, Hendrix, Iggy and Lou had opened the doors. Mick and Keith had set the stage. Or was it the other way around?

  2. Anonymous8.4.11

    thankyou!!! been trying to get an mp3 on this thing forever

  3. Glad you appreciate it, thanks for stopping by.

  4. Anonymous22.4.12

    thank you so much!

  5. Anonymous11.5.12

    Awesome--can't find this anywhere. Thanks so much.

  6. Hey Anon, it's just been reissued as a limited edition 7" for Record Store Day, but copies are already starting to sell for (almost) as much as originals... crazy!

    Great record though, eh?