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Today we have the one and only Patti Smith on the show. Patti is the prototypical downtown, New York City artist. Her 1975 debut album Horses is credited as one of the masterpieces of its time. It also cemented her as one of rock n roll’s great lyricists. But her writing extends far beyond music. Her 2010 memoir, Just Kids, won the National Book Award for its brilliant portrayal of the ‘70s bohemian art scene in New York, and Patti’s experience living in the Chelsea Hotel with the famed photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe. Today Patti publishes near-daily offerings of poems, songs and serialized fiction on her Substack newsletter. It’s a journal of sorts that she started during the solitary days of the pandemic. 

On today’s episode, Malcolm Gladwell talks to Patti about her writing in the studio Jimi Hendrix built, Electric Lady. It was there, she tells Malcolm, that she met Hendrix in 1970—just weeks before he passed away. Patti also talks about hanging out with and writing lyrics for Janis Joplin, and she recalls the fun she had during a failed attempt to cover Adele in concert.

Hear a playlist of all of our favorite Patti Smith songs HERE.

The Hosts

Rick Rubin

In addition to being a podcast host, Frederick Jay “Rick” Rubin is an American record producer and former co-president of Columbia Records. Along with Russell Simmons, he is the co-founder…

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is president and co-founder of Pushkin Industries. He is a journalist, a speaker, and the author of six New York Times bestsellers including The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers,…

Justin Richmond

Justin Richmond is producer and co-host of the music podcast Broken Record with writer Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times editor Bruce Headlam, and music producer—and Def Jam co-founder—Rick Rubin. Justin…

Bruce Headlam

Bruce Headlam is one of the co-creators of the music podcast Broken Record. He worked at The New York Times for 19 years, including two years running the 50-person Video…