The stars have aligned for Patti Smith, who celebrated her 60th birthday last weekend with a show at New York's Bowery Ballroom and was awoken this morning (Jan. 8) with the news that she had been cho

The stars have aligned for Patti Smith, who celebrated her 60th birthday last weekend with a show at New York's Bowery Ballroom and was awoken this morning (Jan. 8) with the news that she had been chosen for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March.

Smith tells Billboard.com she is equally gratified "it should happen when Michael [Stipe] and R.E.M. are inducted, because he's been such a good friend and supporter. I'm ready to play and sing with everybody. I want to make it the most communal and strong-spirited night possible."

The Rock Hall induction will add heft to a busy 2007 for Smith, who is about to finish her first covers album. The as-yet-untitled set is due in late March or early April and features songs popularized by "Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Nirvana, Neil Young and some people you'd be very surprised at."

The project features guest appearances by Television guitarist Tom Verlaine, who has toured of late with the Patti Smith Group, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea and the Black Crowes' Richard Robinson. Smith's children, Jackson and Jesse, also appear, as does playwright/actor Sam Shepard.

"It has been a real adventure doing these songs," Smith says. "I've always wanted to do a cover record, but I didn't think I had the range. But now, I feel really on the top of my game and ready to tackle a lot of different songs I thought had strong and relevant lyrics."

And, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the "summer of love," Smith and her band are learning songs connected with that time in advance of their 2007 tour. "It will be a very celebratory year," she enthuses. "We had already planned [the album and tour], so to have this honor right in the center of that is so exciting and encouraging."

Smith says is up for further deluxe reissues from her back catalog, a campaign that began in 2005 with her beloved 1975 album "Horses." "If the [record] company is interested, we're happy to do it," she says. "The other night on the 29th, my son drove in from Detroit and we did the whole 'Dream of Life' record. He played all of [Smith's late husband] Fred's guitar parts really beautifully. We can play any of the work. I could do any of the albums."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print