Patti Smith, “Gloria”, SNL 1976

I loved this record in high school, played the grooves off of it, but it began to matter less to me after a while. I started to notice that the artists I liked had in common that they were written about a lot, they were critical darlings who played at CBGBs. I still mostly agree that the critics were right, the Ramones and Television and Patti Smith were all good, but they actually weren’t really what I liked most. But for a while there I wanted to be part of something like that. When I was in high school bands I was always interested in reading and writing criticism of other local high school bands. I had skin in the game!

I’m not blown away by this performance but it’s good. I like how all the little mannerisms from the record, like “azzmophere” make it into the live show. What I’m really interested in is how SNL used to get these very intimate clips of bands playing that really let you see what they were like, live, for real. They kinda still do that as much as it’s possible (A Tribe Called Quest’s rough but interesting appearance is a good example).

If you haven’t heard this a million times, let me know if it still has any power to shock or if it just seems like some old nerds at an open mic night.