Jeff Christensen / AP
Smith was a fixture on the New York underground scene of the late 1960s and 70s, dating playwright Sam Shepard, living at the Chelsea Hotel with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, writing rock criticism for Cream. She also played music with her band the Patti Smith Group. At the beginning of the 80s she married fellow musician Fred Sonic Smith and moved to a town north of Detroit, where she raised two children.
In 1988 Smith resurfaced briefly with a one-off album, Dream of Life, which she co-wrote with her husband, but her real return to music came after her husbands death, when friends like Allen Ginsberg and Michael Stipe urged her to hit the road. She reformed the Patti Smith Group with her two children, opened for Bob Dylan and in 2007 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.