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Studio album by Patti Smith Group
Released March 3, 1978 (1978-03-03)
Recorded 1978 (1978) at Record Plant Studios, New York; House of Music, West Orange, New Jersey
Genre Rock, Punk Rock
Length 39:44
Label Arista
Producer Jimmy Iovine
Professional reviews
Patti Smith Group chronology
Radio Ethiopia
Singles from Easter
  1. "Because the Night"
    Released: 1978 (1978)
  2. "Privilege (Set Me Free)"
    Released: 1978 (1978)

Easter is an album by the Patti Smith Group, released in March 1978 on Arista Records (see 1978 in music). 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[1] and #5 in the UK. [2]



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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". The cover photograph is by Lynn Goldsmith and liner notes photography by Cindy Black and Robert Mapplethorpe.

In addition to the obvious religious allusion of its title, the album is replete with biblical 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 are a quote from Second Epistle to Timothy 4:7 -- "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course..."


The album was highly acclaimed upon its release. Writing in Rolling Stone, Dave Marsh called the album "transcendent and fulfilled."[3] 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."[4] Lester Bangs, on the other hand, began his pan of the album, "Dear Patti, start the revolution without me." Bangs contended that while Horses had changed his life, Easter "is just a very good album."[5] It listed number 14 in The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics' poll of the best albums of 1978,[6] while NME magazine ranked the album 46th best of the year .[7]

Track listing

All songs written by Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye except as noted.


Side one

  1. "Till Victory" – 2:45
  2. "Space Monkey" (Smith, Ivan Kral, Tom Verlaine) – 4:04
  3. "Because the Night" (Smith, Bruce Springsteen) – 3:32
  4. "Ghost Dance" – 4:40
  5. "Babelogue" (Smith) – 1:25
  6. "Rock N Roll Nigger" – 3:13

Side two

  1. "Privilege (Set Me Free)" (Mel London, Mike Leander, Psalm 23) – 3:27
  2. "We Three" (Smith) – 4:19
  3. "25th Floor" (Smith, Kral) – 4:01
  4. "High on Rebellion" (Smith) – 2:37
  5. "Easter" (Smith, Jay Dee Daugherty) – 6:15

Bonus track (CD reissue)

  • "Godspeed" (Smith, Kral) – 6:09


Additional personnel

  • 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 Verlaine - arrangement on "We Three"
  • Todd Smith – head of crew

Technical personnel

Design personnel

Liner notes

In the insert with the original LP release (reproduced in the 1996 reissue), Smith's self-penned liner notes refer, among other things, to:


Year Chart Peak Position
1978 Norway 10 [8]
1978 Sweden 34 [8]
1978 UK Albums Chart 16 [2]
1978 Billboard Pop Albums 20 [9]


Organization Level Date
BPIUK Silver August 29, 1978 (1978-08-29) [10]

Release history

Date Label Format Catalog
March 1978 Arista Records LP 4171
1996 Arista Records CD
2007 Sony BMG CD 37929


  1. ^ "(((Easter > Chart & Awards". allmusic. Retrieved 2008-02-28.  
  2. ^ a b "UK Album Charts". Retrieved 2008-02-28.  
  3. ^ Marsh, Dave (1978-04-20). "Easter: Music review". Issue 263. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2008-02-29.  
  4. ^ Tosches, Nick (1978-06). "Review of "Easter"". Creem. Retrieved 2008-02-29.  
  5. ^ Bangs, Lester (1978-05). "Patti Smith's Top 40 Insurrection". Phonograph Record magazine. Retrieved 2008-02-29.  
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (1979-01-22). "Critics Poll". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2008-02-29.  
  7. ^ "Best of All-time Lists". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved 2008-02-29.  
  8. ^ a b "European charts". Retrieved 2008-02-28.  
  9. ^ "(((Easter > Chart & Awards". allmusic. Retrieved 2008-02-28.  
  10. ^ "Certified Awards". British Phonographic Industry. 1978-08-29. Retrieved 2008-04-02.  

External links


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