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 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 Ãyster Cult keyboardist Allen Lanier. The cover photograph is by Lynn Goldsmith and liner notes photography by Cindy Black and Robert Mapplethorpe.
In addition to the 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 is 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." 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." 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." It listed number 14 in The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics' poll of the best albums of 1978, while NME magazine ranked the album 46th best of the year .
Bonus track (CD reissue in 1996 Arista Records, Inc)
- Patti Smith â" vocals, guitar
- Lenny Kaye â" guitar, bass guitar, vocals
- Jay Dee Daugherty â" drums, percussion
- Ivan Kral â" bass guitar, vocals, guitar
- Bruce Brody â" keyboards, synthesizer
- Jimmy Iovine - producer
- Richard Sohl â" keyboards on "Space Monkey"
- Allen Lanier â" keyboards on "Space Monkey"
- John Paul Fetta â" bass on "Till Victory" & "Privilege"
- Andi Ostrowe â" percussion on "Ghost Dance"
- Jim Maxwell â" bagpipes on "Easter"
- Tom Verlaine - arrangement on "We Three" (in 1974)
- Todd Smith â" head of crew
- Jimmy Iovine â" production, mixing
- Shelly Yakus â" mixing
- Greg Calbi â" mastering
- Thom Panunzio â" engineering
- Gray Russell â" engineering
- Charlie Conrad â" engineering
- Joe Intile â" engineering
- Lynn Goldsmith â" cover photography
- Robert Mapplethorpe â" insert photography
- Cindy Black â" insert photography
- John Roberts â" insert photography
- Maude Gilman â" insert design
In the insert with the original LP release (reproduced in the 1996 reissue), Smith's self-penned liner notes refer, among other things, to:
- Arthur Rimbaud â" 19th century French poet, sometime companion of Paul Verlaine. Lived in Ethiopia for the last 11 years of his life.
- FrÃ©dÃ©ric Rimbaud â" Arthur's brother.
- 42nd Street and Ninth Avenue, New York â" 1970s crime-ridden zone.
- Privilege â" 1967 British movie.
- Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones â" A concert movie released in 1974.
- Alain Delon â" French actor.
- Pier Paolo Pasolini â" 1960s Italian poet and film director.
- Bernardo Bertolucci â" 1960s Italian writer and film director.
- Jean-Luc Godard â" 1960s Franco-Swiss filmmaker.
- AugustÂ 16,Â 1977Â (1977-08-16) â" date of Elvis Presley's death.
- Ghost Dance â" 19th century religious movement among some Native American tribes.
- r.e.f.m. â" Radio Ethiopia Field Marshal.
- Jean Shrimpton â" 1960s British model and actress.
- Paul Jones â" 1960s British musician and actor.
- Charles Baudelaire â" 19th century French poet.
- CBGB â" New York music club.
- Little Richard â" 20th century American singer-songwriter.
- New Jersey.
- The UN's declaration of 1979 as International Year of the Child.
The cover photograph of Smith is represented in the cover artwork of Green Day's 1994 album Dookie.
- Easter at AllMusic