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Patti Smith — So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star
Album: Wave
Avg rating:
6.9

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1390









Released: 1979
Length: 4:18
Plays (last 30 days): 2
so you want to be a rock & roll star
well listen now to what I say
get yourself an electric guitar
and take some time and learn how to play
and when hair's combed right
and your pants are tight
it's gonna be all right
with time you go downtown
to the agent man he won't let you down
sell your soul to the company
they're all waiting there
to sell plastic wares
and in a week or two if you make the charts
the girls will tear you apart
what you pay for these riches and fame
well it's all a vicious game
you're a little insane
what you get is the public acclaim
don't forget who you are
you're a rock & roll star
na na na na na . . .
hey you. come here. get up.
ah, this is the era where everybody creates.
recognize my face?
they call me broken glass.
that's because of the sound
what you pay for all these riches and fame
well it's all a vicious game
you're a little insane.
well you're a little insane
oh a little insane
'cause the thing that you gain
is the public acclaim
don't forget who you are
don't forget who you are
don't forget who you are
you're a rock & roll star
Comments (180)add comment
 ckcotton wrote:
Terrible song and worse cover....
 
Well, I would modify that with Mediocre song and interesting cover...
 ckcotton wrote:
Terrible song and worse cover....
 

 Phlegmaticman wrote:
See her live if you ever get the chance.
 

I've seen her do a show with a full band and a smaller acoustic show. They were both worth it but the acoustic was one of the better concerts I've seen. She did a lot of back and forth with the audience, told stories, and was generally amazing. Two thumbs up!
 ckcotton wrote:
Terrible song and worse cover....
 Just came here to write the same exact thing!

See her live if you ever get the chance.
Good one Patti, but the version of this by Nazereth, track 3 on their 1976 album "Close enough for Rock'n'Roll" really rocks.
 ckcotton wrote:
Terrible song and worse cover....
 
Still feel the same.
This may be one of those rare times when the cover is better than the original.
 DaidyBoy wrote:
I can't believe how old this is.  Forty years, for God's sake.  It still sounds fresh and tasty.  Unlike "Radio Nowhere" which follows it today - production sounds muddy, harsh and dated.
 
It’s good. But there’s nothing fresh or tasty about it.
I can't believe how old this is.  Forty years, for God's sake.  It still sounds fresh and tasty.  Unlike "Radio Nowhere" which follows it today - production sounds muddy, harsh and dated.
She's got a new book out - going to see her next Monday in San Francisco. Maybe she'll play a few tunes also! 
As much as I love patti I am sick of this song so going to hit the next butto
This is actually a pretty funny follow up to Storm Large's cover of Where is my Mind...
 lemmoth wrote:
Very Moon-like drumming by Jay Dee Daugherty on this one.
 

Yes, concur.  Was just sort of listening in the background while working and the drumming wandered into my attention span.  Thought the very same thing.
 justin4kick wrote:

Wrong. Great song and even better cover!!
 
I think we’re on different sides here.... 
 ckcotton wrote:
Terrible song and worse cover....

 
Wrong. Great song and even better cover!!
 Helter_Skelter wrote:

Set repeated 4/10/15—-IT'S GETTING LAME!!!!!!!!!!

 
Wait a minute, according to the time-stamp on your comment, you wrote this comment on  Apr 09, 2015.  Are you a time traveler?
This was BY FAR Patti's best cover.

Sorry, "Hey Joe" lovers out there. 
What an excellent set. So glad to hear it (even if it is a rerun). Love Patti, love the Who, Love E. Costello.
Terrible song and worse cover....
"It's all a viscous game."
       
When this song comes up in my running playlist it never fails to boost my energy and speed up my pace.
Wonderful.  Should be followed by the Tom Petty version {#Bananajam}
 
She's a treasure to all who know enough when they find her  : )
Very Moon-like drumming by Jay Dee Daugherty on this one.
 Helter_Skelter wrote:

Set repeated 4/10/15—-IT'S GETTING LAME!!!!!!!!!!

 
Yes it is is the same list!!!!!!!!!!!

/wouldn't know and don't really care unless pointed out.  Also a good solid set.
 Helter_Skelter wrote:

Set repeated 4/10/15—-IT'S GETTING LAME!!!!!!!!!!

 
Set Repeated- 6/12/15

I really dont care, still sounds good.  Haven't heard him do this set before. Its a good transition  
 djengs wrote:

Perhaps, by the time I stop dancing...

 
Good comeback. But still...
 treatment_bound wrote:
calypsus_1 wrote:

Dec 24, 2013 - 13:17:


1:22 pm - Elvis Costello - Peace, Love and Understanding
1:17 pm - Patti Smith - So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star
1:14 pm - The Who - The Seeker

 
Set repeated 4/30/14—-IT"S TWICE THE FUN!!!!!!!!!!
 
Set repeated 4/10/15—-IT'S GETTING LAME!!!!!!!!!!
 GeorgeMWoods wrote:
Lame

 
Perhaps, by the time I stop dancing...
Lame
 calypsus_1 wrote:

Dec 24, 2013 - 13:17:


1:22 pm - Elvis Costello - Peace, Love and Understanding
1:17 pm - Patti Smith - So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star
1:14 pm - The Who - The Seeker

 

Set repeated 4/30/14---IT"S TWICE THE FUN!!!!!!!!!!
Of all the Patti Smith covers, this one's THE BEST!
Amazingly good song not heard in a long time. Thx 

Dec 24, 2013 - 13:17:


1:22 pm - Elvis Costello - Peace, Love and Understanding
1:17 pm - Patti Smith - So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star
1:14 pm - The Who - The Seeker

Should have been so, but in reality did not. And, because "there is beautiful without one if not" the excellent software programming RP also has bugs, which is rare, and I do not recall ever having happened.
So, was scheduled to play "Patti Smith - So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star", but failed to do so, the program went live from "E.Costello" to "The Who". Natural this, except that Patti Smith has one credit of this song .... lol


What kind of crap shows have you been seeing. I have seen her 3 times and was blown away more each time. I own everything this woman has done, everything!!!  She is one of the premier poets of our time.  You need to go back and listen to her body of work.  There are very few artists that I own everything that they have done, Patty Griffin, Porcupine Tree, Radiohead, Rolling Stones, yeah that is it.  She ranks right up there.



 
Stingray wrote:

SHE IS NEITHER A SINGER NOR A MUSICIAN!

 

THE MOST TERRIBLE AMATEURISH CONCERT I HAVE EVER SEEN!

...and I saw many!!



 

 kcar wrote:

Beg to differ. When this came out, it was loud, raucous, intense and relentless. This rocked as hard as anything on the scene at the time. Still cross-eyed, amped and incandescent. She owns this song. 

 
Agreed!  I remember when this hit the airwaves (BRIEFLY!) in Mpls. in the Summer of '79.  What a revelation!

Unfortunately, the local crap rock station moved on rather quickly, and then we were back our usual steady diet of Supertramp, Molly Hatchet and April Wine.
Nice segue from The Who...but I don't care for this tune or Patti Smith.
 bachbeet wrote:
She should have decided NOT to cover this song.  Terrible job.

 
Beg to differ. When this came out, it was loud, raucous, intense and relentless. This rocked as hard as anything on the scene at the time. Still cross-eyed, amped and incandescent. She owns this song. 
What a great band, man (including Patti)!
Nice segue from The Who . . .
She's a R+R Super Nova!!!
I like WonderLizard's remarks, too.
A nice rendition of a great old song.
 Wardleader wrote:
I forgot this cultural transmission of rocking kulchur, PaTTi does covers with the love of a Mother for a son or daughter for a Father.  Her "Smells like teen Spirit" is the song as a hit from the next possible world of our Earth.  If we could travel dimensions of possible earths, we would be familiar with the sea of possibility because of Shaman Patti.

 
Maybe you should check the label the next time you do that stuff.
 Stingray wrote:

SHE IS NEITHER A SINGER NOR A MUSICIAN!

 

THE MOST TERRIBLE AMATEURISH CONCERT I HAVE EVER SEEN!

...and I saw many!!



 
and yet, she is far more Rock n Roll than most...   
I forgot this cultural transmission of rocking kulchur, PaTTi does covers with the love of a Mother for a son or daughter for a Father.  Her "Smells like teen Spirit" is the song as a hit from the next possible world of our Earth.  If we could travel dimensions of possible earths, we would be familiar with the sea of possibility because of Shaman Patti.
Patti, baby, I wanna be a Rock N Roll star!
Oh HELL ya!

{#Bananajam}{#Bananapiano}{#Drummer}{#Dancingbanana}
 Stingray wrote:

SHE IS NEITHER A SINGER NOR A MUSICIAN!

 

THE MOST TERRIBLE AMATEURISH CONCERT I HAVE EVER SEEN!

...and I saw many!!

 
The fact that you are proud to have gone to many terrible amateurish concerts makes me begin to understand you a bit.

Not much mind you, but a bit.
{#Dancingbanana}{#Drummer}
 dwhayslett wrote:

I rethought my entire life twice (just to be sure), but I still gave this a 7.
 
I've recreated my life several times...it involved a good deal of thought each time...still giving this a seven.
{#Drummer}
 neuticle wrote:
If you didn't at least rate this an eight, you need to rethink your life. Yes, I mean it.
 
Rated eight.
She should have decided NOT to cover this song.  Terrible job.

SHE IS NEITHER A SINGER NOR A MUSICIAN!

 

THE MOST TERRIBLE AMATEURISH CONCERT I HAVE EVER SEEN!

...and I saw many!!


 rdo wrote:


She was on Time Magazine's list of the 100 most influential people.  I seriously do not get it.  I must have missed something.

Read her book "Just Kids." You'll discover she is one multi-talented artist!

{#Lol}

neuticle wrote:

If you didn't at least rate this an eight, you need to rethink your life. Yes, I mean it.
 


 neuticle wrote:
If you didn't at least rate this an eight, you need to rethink your life. Yes, I mean it.
 
I rethought my entire life twice (just to be sure), but I still gave this a 7.
Bill, please bottle the latest combination of tunes for all of us toiling at our computers. Superb!
If you didn't at least rate this an eight, you need to rethink your life. Yes, I mean it.

Patti.......is the best.

Truly an original, one of a kind.


 vandal wrote:

We all used to have that haircut. . . 
 
 
Nope, not me.  Of course, I was born in 1978, had a "jew-fro" (no insult to any jewish person intented!) for a large part of my life.  Kept it cut short so I didn't look like a white Billy Dee Williams, then one day I got a burr up my butt and decided I needed a change.  The girl I was with at the time suggested I shave it.  I decided a preemptive strike against male pattern baldness wasn't a bad idea and I haven't looked back since.

Chicks dig bald guys.

 ktnsb wrote:
When Patti says 'don't forget who you are, you're a rock n roll star', it's just a helluva lot more compelling than when the Byrds said it. I don't know why.
 
Good call, and I'd say it's because she came up in the punk wave, when "rock and roll star" was an insult, but she had this whole love of rock history and a real understanding of where rock and roll had been, and then here is this seminal song that made the "rock star insult" thing very early on, so for her to do the song embodies two levels of irony.  And then, she does it more or less as straight kick-ass rock and roll, which is even funnier.

Especially if you saw her do it live — I saw her scale the amplifier wall and perch on top like King Kong going up the Empire State Building, pumping her fists and yelling "Don't forget who you are!!! Don't forget who you are!!! You're a rock and roll star!!!" while the band rocked out.  

Now that's compelling.


Best version (so far) of a hilarious song!

 Stingray wrote:
PRETENDER!
 
Uh, no. That's Chrissie Hynde.
Still don't get it - never understood Patti being such a rock critic darling - never will.
Such a great tune, no matter who covers it. Byrds blew it open.
 treatment_bound wrote:

Here's a shot of Jay Dee in his early 20's...Hey, I used to have that haircut!

 
We all used to have that haircut. . . 
 
 spigolli wrote:

She had a strong influence on me to always change the station when she was played.

 

Now that explains it.  {#Roflol}  At least you heard her on a station.  I never did.
 rdo wrote:


She was on Time Magazine's list of the 100 most influential people.  I seriously do not get it.  I must have missed something.
 
She had a strong influence on me to always change the station when she was played.

 lemmoth wrote:


Jay Dee Daugherty my friend
 
Here's a shot of Jay Dee in his early 20's...Hey, I used to have that haircut!



 Propayne wrote:
I love this cover.

Enjoyable book out now on the history of Todd Rundgren's production work with a very interesting chapter on Patti Smith and the making of Wave.
 

She was on Time Magazine's list of the 100 most influential people.  I seriously do not get it.  I must have missed something.
 kurtster wrote:
8 to 9
 


I gave this cover one of my rare tens long ago...  I love it...

 
I love this cover.

Enjoyable book out now on the history of Todd Rundgren's production work with a very interesting chapter on Patti Smith and the making of Wave.
This was an OUTSTANDING addition to my skiing mix... hearing it in my helmet (with 40mm SkullCandy speakers) gave me some higher energy on a recent outing to Squaw Valley.
PRETENDER!
 Eric_Denison wrote:
Doesn't get much better than this!  
 
actually, it does


 keller1 wrote:
This one rocks out in no small part thanks to some kickass drumming —- Moon-like, which I'm guessing is why the segue from The Seeker.
 

Jay Dee Daugherty my friend
I love this!  Hadn't heard her cover this song before - that chunky beat, the yummy, throaty vocals and the spontaneous poetry spiel - no bad here.  I love the Tom Petty and Roger McGuinn/Byrds versions for different reasons, but this one is definitely worthy of an "I'm not worthy" icon...{#Notworthy}
Patti may have been dubbed the Queen of Punk but she had enormous respect for the great rock and roll she grew up with — and this is a great cover.
Doesn't get much better than this!  

Actually this whole set has been quite exceptional.
8 to 9
 Poacher wrote:
6.4? Only a 6.4 rating!?

I really don't understand. . . seriously - this is a total classic in every respect.

Hey ho.  
 

I know! It makes no sense. It's beyond a 10!
I prefur da Boids.
Another brilliant production and engineering accomplishment for Todd Rundgren.  (And, of course, Patti was superb!)
6.4? Only a 6.4 rating!?

I really don't understand. . . seriously - this is a total classic in every respect.

Hey ho.  
 lemmoth wrote:


I've seen Patti and the band do this live, and it was fantastic.
 

I saw Patti open with this song at a show in 2000. Was an instant foretelling of what was to come - to me, the single greatest live music experience I have ever witnessed (out of literally 100's of live shows seen). I left the club spent, exhausted after having been alternately exhilirated and brought to my emotional knees (that feeling lingered for days afterward, too). No doubt Patti and the band did, too.
You're a little insane...

I love her for it.
Love a great cover of a great song. 
Bill's on fire today!  Haven't had such a good 'wind it up' RP day for ages.  Rock On Bill!
I've always thought it odd that Patti would live in a place as mundane as Royal Oak, Mich.
OK as a cover and this is certainly her dominant style but this has no where near the power of the original in which the voices had this tsunami-like force that just rolled over you and made you feel like you simply HAD to sing along.

This version has me turning down the volume and wanting to see what Bill plays next.
 power +...
 spotcheckbilly wrote:

Yes, and their original was much better than this cover.
 
I must agree.  This is not bad, but the original was much more wistful.  Or perhaps that is the haze of years since I first heard the original version.

 keller1 wrote:
This one rocks out in no small part thanks to some kickass drumming —- Moon-like, which I'm guessing is why the segue from The Seeker.
 

Nice pickup.
 jagdriver wrote:
I dun-NOOOO.... I don't consider myself a fan at all, but if I heard this in concert, I'd be going a bit crazy—in a FUN way! This just has TONS of bravura!
 

I've seen Patti and the band do this live, and it was fantastic.
 justin_thyme wrote:
Patti rocks, for sure. But Todd Rundgren's terrific production and uncredited performances on Wave were major ingredients in the artistic mix that made this album a commercial success, which Patti needed badly at the time.
 

Not really since her largest commercial success came with Easter - the prior album - which had Because the Night.  And of course commercial success was not foremost in Patti's mind - ever.
rbigelo wrote:
I wonder if Patti had any idea how well liked her music is and how respected she would become among avid listeners of adult contemporary rock music.

You do realize she's still out there kickin' it up, right?



Patti rocks, for sure. But Todd Rundgren's terrific production and uncredited performances on Wave were major ingredients in the artistic mix that made this album a commercial success, which Patti needed badly at the time.
This one rocks out in no small part thanks to some kickass drumming --- Moon-like, which I'm guessing is why the segue from The Seeker.
I wonder if Patti had any idea how well liked her music is and how respected she would become among avid listeners of adult contemporary rock music.
Yah Yah Yah Yah Yah Yah Yah Yah Yah Yah Oh sooooo good!!!!!!! No one does this better than Patti!
Patti Smith has a bucketfull of soul. I just bumped this from 8 to 9. All versions of this song are great. But I think this is my favorite.
KermitDfrog wrote:
I'd rather hear Petty and the Heartbreaker's version too.
Yeup, or the live Byrds' version from Untitled. This is okay, but both of those are much better.
crinky wrote:
Actually, that photo was a Mapplethorpe self-portrait not a photo of Patti Smith.
Yeah, I know. I did momentarily wax ironical.
ktnsb wrote:
When Patti says 'don't forget who you are, you're a rock n roll star', it's just a helluva lot more compelling than when the Byrds said it. I don't know why.
I think it's because she made this more of a 'Rock Anthem" than the Byrds' version. Their version is still great but it has a bit of that 60s sweet pop sound mixed in. That's completely gone here. She has a much more visceral impact.
Hannio wrote:
I'm glad they chose this pic for the album cover and not the one with the whip up her butt.
Actually, that photo was a Mapplethorpe self-portrait not a photo of Patti Smith.
squidish wrote:
Cover photo by Robert Mapplethorpe, RIP
I'm glad they chose this pic for the album cover and not the one with the whip up her butt.
bronorb wrote:
Patti made this song hers. Excellent!
:yes: When I saw the Patti Smith Group live many years ago, she sat in the audience about 1/2 way through the song & watched the band to punctuate the lyrics.
Patti made this song hers. Excellent!
When Patti says 'don't forget who you are, you're a rock n roll star', it's just a helluva lot more compelling than when the Byrds said it. I don't know why.
Wake me when the Byrds start playing...acceptable at best. Make what you will about Patti Smith and her role in music (which I won't belittle), you can't compare her to Roger McGuinn and a band that could have been the Beatles had there not already been one. And, therefore, I won't be fawning over someone covering seminal works that apply to nearly everyone.
The Patti Smith album is GREAT absolutely worth getting for her interpretations of songs that impacted her
Heartfelt, over-the-top and in your face; the essence of rock. Patti brings it.
PATTI!!!!!! :jump:
spotcheckbilly wrote:
Yes, and their original was much better than this cover.
I dun-NOOOO.... I don't consider myself a fan at all, but if I heard this in concert, I'd be going a bit crazy--in a FUN way! This just has TONS of bravura!
oldsinger wrote:
Anybody remember the Byrds?
I do, I do! They've got a great body of work.
Cover photo by Robert Mapplethorpe, RIP