2008 five CD box. The Original Album Classics series, courtesy of Sony/BMG, packages together five classic albums from one of the most popular artists on the label's roster, housing them in an attractive slipcase. This set from the Alt-Rock icon features the albums Horses (1975), Radio Ethiopia (1976), Easter (1978), Wave (1979) and Dream Of Life (1988).
The big difference between Patti Smith's four 1970s albums and this return to action after nine years lies in the choice of collaborator. Where Smith's main associate earlier had been Lenny Kaye, a deliberately simple guitarist, here her co-writer and co-producer (with Jimmy Iovine) was her husband, Fred "Sonic" Smith, formerly of the MC5, who played guitar with a conventional rock competence and who lent his talents to each of the tracks, giving them a mainstream flavor…
After years of silence, Patti Smith returned to music with a series of concerts in late 1995. It had been years since she had performed live – for most of the '80s and '90s, she concentrated on domestic life. Following the death of her husband, Fred "Sonic" Smith, in early 1995, Smith began playing music in public again and those concerts eventually led to the triumphant comeback Gone Again. Her husband wasn't the only loved one Smith lost between 1988's Dream of Life and 1996's Gone Again – her brother and her close friend Robert Mapplethorpe both died.
After the success of Horses, Patti Smith had something to prove to reviewers and to the industry, and Radio Ethiopia aimed at both. Producer Jack Douglas gave "the Patti Smith Group," as it was now billed, a hard rock sound, notably on the side-opening "Ask the Angels" and "Pumping (My Heart)," songs that seemed aimed at album-oriented rock radio.