Horses is the debut studio album by American musician Patti Smith. It was released on November 10, 1975 by Arista Records. A fixture of the mid-1970s underground rock music scene in New York City, Smith signed to Arista in 1975 and recorded Horses with her band at Electric Lady Studios in August and September of that year. She enlisted former Velvet Underground member John Cale to produce the album.
The music on Horses was informed by the minimalist aesthetic of the punk rock genre, then in its formative years. Smith and her band composed the album’s songs using simple chord progressions, while also breaking from punk tradition in their propensity for improvisation and embrace of ideas from avant-garde and other musical styles. Smith’s lyrics on Horses were alternately rooted in her own personal experiences, particularly with her family, and in more fantastical imagery. The album also features adaptations of the rock standards “Gloria” and “Land of a Thousand Dances”.
At the time of its release, Horses experienced modest commercial success and placed in the top 50 of the American Billboard 200 albums chart, while being widely acclaimed by music critics. Recognized as a seminal recording in the history of punk and later rock movements, Horses has frequently appeared in professional lists of the greatest albums of all time. In 2009, it was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation into the National Recording Registry as a “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” work.
- “Gloria” 5:54
- “Redondo Beach” 3:24
- “Birdland” 9:16
- “Free Money” 3:47
- “Kimberly” 4:26
- “Break It Up” 4:05
- “Land” 9:36
- “Elegie” 2:42
- “My Generation” (live at the Agora, Cleveland, Ohio, January 26, 1976) 3:16
Patti Smith – vocals
Jay Dee Daugherty – drums
Lenny Kaye – lead guitar
Ivan Král – bass guitar, guitar
Richard Sohl – piano
Tom Verlaine – guitar on “Break It Up”
Allen Lanier – guitar on “Elegie”