Considerably less accessible than Horses, Radio Ethiopia initially received poor reviews.
However, several of its songs have stood the test of time, and Smith still performs them regularly in concert.
When Smith returned to Manhattan, she lived in the Hotel Chelsea with Mapplethorpe; they frequented Max's Kansas City and CBGB.Wave (1979) was less successful, although the songs "Frederick" and "Dancing Barefoot" both received commercial airplay.Before the release of Wave, Smith, now separated from long-time partner Allen Lanier, met Fred "Sonic" Smith, former guitar player for Detroit rock band MC5 and his own Sonic's Rendezvous Band, who adored poetry as much as she did. Through most of the 1980s Smith was in semi-retirement from music, living with her family north of Detroit in St. In June 1988, she released the album Dream of Life, which included the song "People Have the Power".The album fused punk rock and spoken poetry and begins with a cover of Van Morrison's "Gloria", and Smith's opening words: "Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine" (an excerpt from "Oath", one of her early poems).The austere cover photograph by Mapplethorpe has become one of rock's classic images.Patti Smith Group produced two further albums before the end of the 1970s.Easter (1978) was her most commercially successful record, containing the single "Because the Night" co-written with Bruce Springsteen.Smith provided the spoken word soundtrack for Sandy Daley's art film Robert Having His Nipple Pierced, starring Mapplethorpe.The same year Smith appeared with Wayne County in Jackie Curtis's play Femme Fatale.Smith graduated from Deptford Township High School in 1964 and went to work in a factory.In 1967, she left Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) and moved to Manhattan.