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Wave (Patti Smith Group album)

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Title: Wave (Patti Smith Group album)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Patti Smith, Dancing Barefoot, Ivan Kral, Easter (Patti Smith Group album), Land (1975–2002)
Collection: 1979 Albums, Albums Produced by Todd Rundgren, Arista Records Albums, English-Language Albums, Patti Smith Albums
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Wave (Patti Smith Group album)

Studio album by Patti Smith Group
Released May 17, 1979 (1979-05-17)
Recorded Bearsville Studios, New York
Genre Rock
Length 37:45
Label Arista
Producer Todd Rundgren
Patti Smith chronology
Dream of Life
Singles from Wave
  1. "Frederick AS 0427"
    Released: 1979
  2. "Dancing Barefoot ARIST 281 (UK)"
    Released: 1979
  3. "So You Want to Be
    (A Rock 'n' Roll Star)
    AS 0453"

    Released: 1979
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic link
Robert Christgau B+[1]
Rolling Stone (not rated) 28.06.79
Smash Hits 5/10[2]

Wave is the fourth studio album by the Patti Smith Group, released May 17, 1979 on Arista Records. This album was less commercially successful than its predecessor, Easter, although it continued the band's move towards more radio-friendly mainstream pop music. It was produced by famed artist/producer Todd Rundgren.


  • History 1
  • Reception 2
  • Track listing 3
  • Personnel 4
  • Charts 5
  • Release history 6
  • Notes 7
  • External links 8


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The title track was a tribute to Pope John Paul I, whose brief papacy coincided with the recording sessions. The first single off the album was "Frederick", a love song for her husband-to-be Fred "Sonic" Smith with a melody and structure bearing resemblance to "Because the Night", the group's biggest hit. The second single, "Dancing Barefoot", has been covered by many artists.

The band broke up after this album was released, and Smith went on to marry Fred Smith. She spent many years in semi-retirement following the birth of their children, Jesse and Jackson, until her 1988 solo comeback album, Dream of Life. The 1996 remaster of Wave includes Smith's original version of "Fire of Unknown Origin." Blue Öyster Cult's version was released on their album of the same name in 1981. The back cover of the original LP bore a quote from the Jean Genet poem, "Le Condamné à mort:"

Oh go through the walls; if you must, walk on the ledges
Of roofs, of oceans; cover yourself with light;
Use menace, use prayer…
My sleepers will flee toward another America


Upon its release in 1979, the album garnered mixed reviews, attracting either positive or negative commentary on its polished production and conventionality. Reviewers such as Rolling Stone's Tom Carson, and Julie Burchill were not favourable in their reviews of the album, with the former negatively likening it to Radio Ethiopia, Smith's last album to be critically maligned and the latter concluding her review with "is this the blandest record in the world?". Simon Frith of Melody Maker was more appreciative of the album, praising Rundgren's hand in the production and considered the songs to represent a newfound focus for Smith and the band.

Track listing

Side one
  1. "Frederick" (Patti Smith) – 3:01
  2. "Dancing Barefoot" (Smith, Ivan Kral) – 4:18
  3. "So you want to Be (a Rock 'n' Roll Star)" (Jim McGuinn, Chris Hillman) – 4:18
  4. "Hymn" (Smith, Lenny Kaye) – 1:10
  5. "Revenge" (Smith, Kral) – 5:06
Side two
  1. "Citizen Ship" (Smith, Kral) – 5:09
  2. "Seven Ways of Going" (Smith) – 5:12
  3. "Broken Flag" (Smith, Kaye) – 4:55
  4. "Wave" (Smith) – 4:55
Compact Disc bonus tracks
  1. "Fire of Unknown Origin" (Smith, Kaye) – 2:09
  2. "5-4-3-2-1 / Wave" (1979-05-23rd Live; New York) (Paul Jones, Mike Hugg, Manfred Mann) – 2:43


Patti Smith Group
Additional musicians
Technical personnel
  • Vic Anesini – mastering
  • George Carnell – assistant engineer
  • Tom Edmonds – assistant engineer


Chart (1979) Peak
Austria 19
Norway 7
Sweden[3] 17
UK Albums Chart[4] 41
U.S. Billboard 200[5] 18

Release history

Date Label Format Catalog No.
May 17, 1979 Arista Records LP 4221
c. 1986 (original CD release from LP master) Arista Records CD 251139
1996 (Digital Remaster by Bill Inglot and Ken Perry) Arista Records CD 18829-2
2007 (20-bit Digital Remaster by Bob Irwin and Vic Anesini) Sony BMG CD 37930


  1. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Wave".  
  2. ^ Starr, Red. "Albums".  
  3. ^ "European charts". Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  4. ^ "UK chart". Archived from the original on 2012-06-30. Retrieved 2008-02-29. 
  5. ^ "Billboard chart". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 

External links

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