Patti Smith Group - Easter

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Patti Smith Group - Easter
Easter cover.jpg
Studio album by
 Patti Smith Group
Released March 3, 1978
Recorded 1977
Studio Record Plant, New York City;
House of Music, West Orange, New Jersey
Genre Punk Rock, new wave
Length 39:44
Label Arista
Producer Jimmy Iovine
Patti Smith Group chronology
Radio Ethiopia
Singles from Easter
  1. "Because the Night"
    Released: 1978
  2. "Privilege (Set Me Free)"
    Released: 1978


  "Easter" is the third studio album by the Patti Smith Group, released in March 1978 on Arista records. Produced by Jimmy Iovine, it is regarded as the group's commercial breakthrough, owing to the success of the single, "Because the Night" (co-written by Bruce Springsteen and Smith), which reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 in the UK.




The first album released since Smith had suffered a neck injury while touring for Radio Ethiopia, "Easter" has been called the most commercially accessible of the Patti Smith Group's catalogue. Unlike its two predecessors, "Easter" incorporated a diversity of musical styles, though still including classic rock and roll ("25th Floor/High on Rebellion", "Rock N Roll Nigger"), folk ("Ghost Dance"), spoken word ("Babelogue") and pop music ("Because the Night"). Easter is the only 1970s album of Smith's that does not feature Richard Sohl as part of the Patti Smith Group; in one interview at the time, Smith stated that Sohl was sick and this prevented him from participating in recording the album. Bruce Brody is credited as the keyboard player, Richard Sohl makes a guest appearance contributing keyboards to "Space Monkey", along with Blue Öyster Cult keyboardist Allen Lanier. The cover photograph is by Lynn Goldsmith and liner notes photography by Cindy Black and Robert Mapplethorpe.


Religious imagery

In addition to the religious allusion of its title, the album is replete with biblicle and specifically Christian imagery. "Privilege (Set Me Free)" is taken from the British fame- and authoritarianism-satirizing film Privilege; its lyrics are adapted from Psalm 23. The LP insert reproduces a First Communion portrait of Frederic and Arthur Rimbaud, and Smith's notes for the song "Easter" invoke Catholic imagery of baptism, communion and the blood of Christ. A solitary hand-drawn cross is placed below the group member credits on the sleeve insert, and the last sentence of the liner notes is a quote from Second Epistle to Timothy 4:7 -- "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course ..."


Critical reception

Retrospective professional reviews
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars
Chicago Tribune 3.5/4 stars
Christgau's record Guide A–
Pitchfork 8.8/10
Q 4/5 stars
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4.5/5 stars
Spin 4.5/5 stars

Easter was highly acclaimed upon its release. Writing in Rolling Stone, Dave Marsh called the album "transcendent and fulfilled." In Creem, Nick Tosches described it as "an album of Christian obsessions, especially those of death and resurrection", and called it Smith's "best work." Robert Chrisgau of The Village Voice wrote that "the miracle is that most of these songs are rousing in the way they're meant to be." Lester Bangs, on the other hand, began his review of the album, "Dear Patti, start the revolution without me", and contended that while Horses had changed his life, Easter "is just a very good album." Easter ranked at number 14 in The Village Voice's Pazz and Jop critics' poll of the best albums of 1978, while NME magazine ranked the album 46th best of the year.


Track listing

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Till Victory" Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye 2:45
2. "Space Monkey" Smith, Ivan Kral, Tom Verlaine 4:04
3. "Because the Night" Smith, Bruce Springsteen 3:32
4. "Ghost Dance" Smith, Kaye 4:40
5. "Babelogue" Smith 1:25
6. "Rock N Roll Nigger" Smith, Kaye 3:13
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
7. "Privilege (Set Me Free)" Mel London, Mike Leander, Psalm 23 3:27
8. "We Three" Smith 4:19
9. "25th Floor" Smith, Kral 4:01
10. "High on Rebellion" Smith 2:37
11. "Easter" Smith, Jay Dee Daughterty 6:15



Patti Smith Group

  • Patti Smith – vocals, guitar
  • Lenny Kaye – guitar, bass guitar, vocals
  • Jay Dee Daugherty – drums, percussion
  • Ivan Kral – bass guitar, vocals, guitar
  • Bruce Brody – keyboards, synthesizer

Additional personnel

  • Jimmy Iovine – producer
  • Richard Sohl – keyboards on "Space Monkey"
  • Allen Lanier – keyboards on "Space Monkey"
  • John Paul Fetta – bass on "Till Victory" & "Privilege"
  • Andi Ostrowe – percussion on "Ghost Dance"
  • Jim Maxwell – bagpipes on "Easter"
  • Tom Vervaine – arrangement on "We Three" (in 1974)
  • Todd Smith – head of crew


  • Jimmy Iovine – production, mixing
  • Shelly Yakus – mixing
  • Greg Calbi – mastering
  • Thom Panunzio – engineering
  • Gray Russell – engineering
  • Charlie Conrad – engineering
  • Joe Intile – engineering


  • Lynn Goldsmith – cover photography
  • Robert Mapplethorpe – insert photography
  • Cindy Black – insert photography
  • John Roberts – insert photography
  • Maude Gilman – insert design




Year Chart Peak
1978 Norway 10
Sweden 34
UK Albums Chart 16
Billboard pop albums 20


Certifications and sales

Region Certification Certified units/sales
France (SNEP) Gold 204,900
United Kingdom (BPI) Silver 60,000^




Patti Smith Group - Easter

UK Arista SPART 1043 stereo (1978) 1st press.

Album produced by Jimmy Iovine.

The vinyl record attains a strong excellent grading, suggesting few plays.

Audio quality is very clear and strong throughout.

Both record centre labels are clean, unmarked and free from tears, stains or stickers.

The album's original laminated cover is in excellent condition, displaying only minimal signs of wear.

The album cover has a strong, undamaged spine, displaying very clear, printed script.

The original folded paper insert is excellently presented, displaying only minimal signs of wear.

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