Patti Smith Net Worth (Updated 2024)

What is Patti Smith’s Net Worth?

Patti Smith, the singer, songwriter, poet, painter, and author, has a net worth of $4 million. She made a big impact in the New York City punk rock scene with her debut album “Horses” in 1975.

Known as the “punk poet laureate,” Patti Smith combined rock and poetry in her work. One of her famous songs, “Because the Night,” co-written with Bruce Springsteen, reached 13th place on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1978 and hit number five on the UK Singles Chart.

Patti Smith’s achievements include being honored as a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture in 2005 and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

She is also a successful author and won the National Book Award in 2010 for her memoir “Just Kids,” dedicated to her former partner, Robert Mapplethorpe. Additionally, she ranked 47th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time in 2010 and received the 2011 Polar Music Prize.

Here’s the breakdown of her net worth:


Patti Smith

Net Worth:

$4 Million

Date of Birth:

Dec 30, 1946


$300K Per Year

Source of Wealth:

Writer, Singer-songwriter, Poet, Musician, Actor, Voice Actor, Photographer, Painter

Patti Smith Net Worth

Learn more: richest singers in the world

Early Life and Education

Patti Smith was born on December 30, 1946, in Chicago’s Grant Hospital to Beverly and Grant Smith. She was the oldest of four siblings and moved frequently during her early years, eventually settling in Deptford Township, New Jersey.

Her love for music developed at a young age, influenced by records like Harry Belafonte’s “Shrimp Boats” and Bob Dylan’s “Another Side of Bob Dylan.” Patti graduated from Deptford Township High School in 1964 and briefly worked in a factory. In 1967, she became a mother and later pursued higher education at Glassboro State College in New Jersey.


New York

In 1967, Patti Smith left Glassboro State College and headed to New York City. There, she met photographer Robert Mapplethorpe while working at a bookstore alongside her poet friend Janet Hamill. Their intense romantic relationship was marked by financial struggles and Mapplethorpe’s exploration of his sexuality. Smith holds a deep affection for Mapplethorpe, calling him “the artist of my life” in her book “Just Kids.”

Mapplethorpe’s photographs graced Smith’s album covers, and their friendship lasted until his passing in 1989. Smith’s album and book “The Coral Sea” paid tribute to Mapplethorpe, while “Just Kids” tells the story of their extraordinary connection. She also penned essays for some of Mapplethorpe’s books.

In 1969, Smith traveled to Paris with her sister, busking and exploring performance art. Upon returning to Manhattan, she lived at the Hotel Chelsea with Mapplethorpe and frequented Max’s Kansas City. She contributed a spoken word soundtrack for Sandy Daley’s art film “Robert Having His Nipple Pierced,” featuring Mapplethorpe. Smith also appeared in Jackie Curtis’s play “Femme Fatale” and Anthony Ingrassia’s “Island.” As part of the St. Mark’s Poetry Project, she painted, wrote, and performed. Her first public poetry performance in 1971, with Lenny Kaye on electric guitar, opened for Gerard Malanga.

In 1969, Smith briefly participated in “Cowboy Mouth,” a play she co-wrote with Sam Shepard. She also wrote poems about her relationship with Shepard, later published in “Angel City, Curse of the Starving Class & Other Plays” (1976).

Smith explored the possibility of becoming the lead singer for Blue Öyster Cult and contributed lyrics to some of their songs. She also ventured into rock music journalism, writing for publications such as Rolling Stone and Creem.

Patti Smith Group

In 1973, Patti Smith teamed up with musician Lenny Kaye and later added Richard Sohl on piano. Their trio soon grew into a full band, including Ivan Kral on guitar and bass and Jay Dee Daugherty on drums.

Sam Wagstaff provided the funds for their first single, “Hey Joe/Piss Factory,” in 1974. The A-side featured a version of “Hey Joe” with a spoken word segment about Patty Hearst, while the B-side expressed Smith’s feeling of disconnection from her factory job.

In 1975, the Patti Smith Group’s weekend gigs at CBGB in New York City, alongside Television, caught the attention of Clive Davis, leading to a contract with Arista Records. Their debut album, “Horses,” produced by John Cale, combined punk rock with spoken poetry and featured the memorable opening words: “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.” The album’s stark cover by Mapplethorpe is iconic.

As punk rock gained popularity, the band toured the U.S. and Europe. Their second album, “Radio Ethiopia,” had a raw sound influenced by MC5. In 1977, Smith’s tour was interrupted when she fell from a stage in Tampa, fracturing her neck vertebrae.

Despite this setback, the Patti Smith Group released two more albums in the 1970s. “Easter” (1978) included their hit “Because the Night,” co-written with Bruce Springsteen. “Wave” (1979) featured tracks like “Frederick” and “Dancing Barefoot,” which received radio play.

Marriage and Musical Revival

Before releasing her album “Wave,” Patti Smith went through significant changes. She ended her long-time relationship with Allen Lanier and met Fred “Sonic” Smith, a former guitarist from Detroit rock bands MC5 and Sonic’s Rendezvous Band. Fred shared her passion for poetry, inspiring songs like “Dancing Barefoot” and “Frederick” on the “Wave” album. They tied the knot, and their family grew with a son, Jackson (born in 1982), who later married Meg White of The White Stripes, and a daughter, Jesse Paris (born in 1987), who is a musician and composer.

Throughout most of the 1980s, Patti Smith took a step back from music and lived in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. In 1988, she made a comeback with the album “Dream of Life,” featuring the powerful anthem “People Have the Power.” Tragedy struck with the deaths of Fred Smith and her brother Todd.

When her son Jackson turned 14, Patti decided to return to New York City. Encouraged by friends Michael Stipe and Allen Ginsberg, she embraced live music and touring once again. In 1995, she went on a brief tour with Bob Dylan, which was documented in a photo book by Michael Stipe.


In 1996, Patti Smith made a remarkable return to the music scene. She contributed to the album “Gone Again,” which included the touching tribute “About a Boy” dedicated to Kurt Cobain. That same year, she collaborated with Michael Stipe on R.E.M.’s “E-Bow the Letter” and performed it live with the band.

Following “Gone Again,” Smith released two more albums: “Peace and Noise” in 1997, featuring the single “1959” inspired by Tibet’s invasion, and “Gung Ho” in 2000, with songs about Ho Chi Minh and her late father. Her exceptional work earned her Grammy nominations, particularly for “1959” and “Glitter in Their Eyes.”

A box set titled “The Patti Smith Masters,” covering her work up to that point, was released in 1996. In 2002, she presented “Land (1975–2002),” a two-CD compilation featuring a unique cover of Prince’s “When Doves Cry.” Beyond music, Smith showcased her solo art exhibition, “Strange Messenger,” at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh in September 2002.

Creative Revival and Honors

In 2004, Patti Smith released “Trampin’,” a personal album dedicated to her late mother. It marked her debut on Columbia Records, a sister label to her previous one, Arista Records. She also curated the Meltdown festival in London in June 2005, performing her iconic album “Horses” in its entirety for the first time.

In July 2005, Smith was honored as a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture for her influence on rock music and her appreciation of Arthur Rimbaud. She gave a literary lecture in August 2005 on Rimbaud and William Blake.

On October 15, 2006, Smith delivered an epic 3½-hour performance at CBGB, closing out the iconic venue’s history. She concluded the show with her song “Elegie” and paid tribute to deceased punk rock figures.

In 2007, Smith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She dedicated her award to her late husband, Fred, and performed a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.” Her song “People Have the Power” closed the induction ceremony. In April 2007, she released an all-covers album, “Twelve.”

In 2008, an exhibition in London featured Smith’s polaroid prints. The Fondation Cartier in Paris hosted an exhibition of her visual artwork, “Land 250,” showcasing pieces created between 1967 and 2007. Smith received an honorary doctorate degree in 2008 for her contributions to popular culture.

A documentary film, “Patti Smith: Dream of Life,” was released in 2008. She also collaborated on a live album, “The Coral Sea,” with Kevin Shields in July 2008. In 2009, Smith returned to Florence for a concert and contributed an introduction to Jessica Lange’s book “50 Photographs.”

Ongoing Creativity and Recognition

In 2010, Patti Smith’s memoir “Just Kids” won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, and an updated edition with more visuals was published in 2018.

In 2010, she headlined a benefit concert and made a cameo in a Jean-Luc Godard film screened at Cannes.

In 2012, Smith received an honorary doctorate from Pratt Institute and delivered the commencement address.

She was honored with the Polar Music Prize in 2011 and made her TV acting debut in “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”

In 2011, Smith worked on a crime novel set in London and presented her photography exhibition, “Camera Solo,” in the U.S., focusing on still objects without flash.

She contributed to tribute albums and released her 11th studio album, “Banga,” in 2012.

Smith continued her creative endeavors, including writing and performing, such as at the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in 2016.

In 2018, her concert-documentary film “Horses: Patti Smith and her Band” premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and she narrated Darren Aronofsky’s VR experience “Spheres: Songs of Spacetime.”

In 2019, her photographs were displayed at the San Francisco Art Institute, and she performed at The Fillmore in San Francisco.

Smith received honors from Washington University in St. Louis, Columbia University, and the French Legion of Honor.

In 2023, she was nominated for the Songwriters Hall of Fame and ranked on Rolling Stone’s list of the 200 Greatest Singers of All Time.


In 1993, Smith contributed “Memorial Tribute (Live)” to the AIDS-benefit album No Alternative.

Throughout her career, Smith has been an outspoken activist. She supported the Green Party and endorsed Ralph Nader in the 2000 U.S. presidential election. She also protested against the Iraq War and supported Democratic candidate John Kerry in 2004.

In 2006, Smith premiered two protest songs. “Qana” addressed the Israeli airstrike on Qana, while “Without Chains” highlighted the situation of Guantanamo Bay detainee Murat Kurnaz.

She performed at anti-war concerts, including one in 2003 after Rachel Corrie’s death, and expressed solidarity with Iranian protesters in 2009.

Smith continues her activism, performing at benefit events, supporting Tibet House US, and emphasizing climate change as a significant issue. In 2022, she expressed concern about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.



Patti Smith’s religious journey has changed over time. She was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness but left organized religion as a teenager, asserting her independence with the iconic line, “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine.” In her youth, she became intrigued by Tibetan Buddhism and its ongoing prayer practices. As an adult, she saw commonalities in religions and viewed their doctrines as human-made rules.

In 2014 and 2021, she performed at the Vatican, showing her respect for Pope Francis and Francis of Assisi, even though she is not Catholic.

Feminism and Women in Music

Patti Smith is regarded as a feminist icon, but her perspective on feminism is multifaceted. She hasn’t fully adopted feminism as her sole identity, stressing her commitment to human rights and her roles as a mother to a son and a daughter. She doesn’t actively deconstruct or redefine the concept of genius in her work, valuing artists as solitary individuals devoted to their craft, irrespective of gender distinctions.

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