Acclaimed Albums – Horses by Patti Smith

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 141/250Title: Horses
Artist: Patti Smith
Year: 1969
Position: #24

I remember that about 11-12 years ago there was a programme on Channel 4 about the best albums of all time. I have a rough idea of how long ago it was because I remember writing a ridiculously over the top diary entry about Jeff Buckley and how I had achieved nothing in life. I was 15 and dumb. I bring this up because this programme inspired me to listen to Horses for the first time… where I didn’t get past track one.

Here we are 12 years later and all the way through Horses I was just thinking to myself, ‘I get it now’. When I was 15 my musical taste had barely developed. This was before I discovered the music of  Bjork, Beck and PJ Harvey (aka the trinity that saved me musically) so I was nowhere near ready for the album that is said to have truly started off punk. Since Horses was released a few months before the Ramones… I’ll have to agree with this sentiment.

When you listen to Horses it’s hard to not think of all the artists that have come since. Someone like PJ Harvey owes a lot to Patti Smith as both a trailblazer for women and as an inspiration for their music. There were times where I was listening and I could have convinced myself this was going to eventually segue into ‘This Wicked Tongue’ or any track off of Hole’s Live Through This.

It’s an understatement to call this album revolutionary. The fact that this was a debut is all the more impressive. Horses is an album that didn’t just inspire a genre, but generations of musicians to come. For me this feels like a better Bob Dylan who has more bite and is someone who you can rock out to. If that isn’t a reason to enjoy this album I don’t know what is.

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