Celebrate Patti Smith’s Birthday With These Wonderful Images

Today, December 30, marks Patti Smith’s 70th birthday, a landmark anniversary in a year that has seen her delivering unforgettable performances in “Inside: Artists and Writers in Reading Prison”—one of the most acclaimed exhibitions of 2016 in the UK—and at the Nobel Prize ceremony, which she attended in lieu of laureate Bob Dylan.

While 2016 will be remembered as the year in which we’ve lost a huge number of music stars—including David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, and George Michael—Smith, the underground heroine, is still going strong, remaining as relevant as ever.

To celebrate her birthday, we have put together a selection of images that survey her iconic personal life and career, from her youth in New York—first as the lover and then friend of Robert Mapplethorpe—and her early steps as a poet, to her maturing into a powerful rock star, and today, with her wit, charm, and unique style absolutely intact.

Patti Smith performs on stage at the Opera Garnier, in Monaco 2012. ImageVALERY HACHE/AFP/GettyImages

Patti Smith performs on stage at the Opera Garnier, in Monaco 2012. ImageVALERY HACHE/AFP/GettyImages

Her poetry, music, and writing are characterized by an uncontrived candor, especially when she relates anecdotes from her fascinating life, going back to her relationship with Mapplethorpe to seeking out the alternative scene in New York. After the release of her book Just Kids, in which she mourned his death, Smith again became a true inspiration to a younger generation.

Fans and friends from around the world have taken to social media today to share moments from throughout the musician and poet’s life. Here are some of the highlights:

Patti Smith forgets the lyrics on stage as she performs on behalf of Bob Dylan, who didn't want to accept the award in person December 10, 2016 in Stockholm. Image Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Patti Smith forgets the lyrics on stage as she performs on behalf of Bob Dylan, who didn’t want to accept the award in person December 10, 2016 in Stockholm. Image Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

 Patti Smith and Kristen Stewart attend the after party for the

Patti Smith and Kristen Stewart attend the after party for the “Cafe Society”. Image bJamie McCarthy/Getty Images

On December 17, Patti Smith gave a performance, unannounced, to a crowd gathered in the lobby of the Museum of Modern Art in celebration of the birthday of Jean Genet, the French novelist and playwright and an idol of Ms. Smith’s. Here’s a video of her performance shot by Klaus Biesenbach, Chief Curator at Large at MoMA and Director of MoMA PS1.

Jammed out.

A photo posted by Patti Smith (@officialpattismith) on

Gerard Malanga, Patti Smith & Sam Shepard after brunch in Knightsbridge, London (1972). Photo: Courtesy Caroline Smulders.

Gerard Malanga, Patti Smith & Sam Shepard after brunch in Knightsbridge, London (1972). Photo: Courtesy Caroline Smulders.

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