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Watch Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye Play ‘People Have the Power’ For Voters in New York City On Election Day
If you voted in New York, there’s a chance you were rewarded for it. (Aside from, you know, feeling good about the fulfillment of your civic duty.) Paul Rudd might’ve given you cookies. Or cornbread from chef Marcus Samuelsson. And if you happened to be in the right spot on Monday, you were treated to a performance from two music legends: Patti Smith and guitarist Lenny Kaye.
In front of a crowd of early voters, Smith and Kaye performed an acoustic version of the former’s rollicking 1988 anthem, “People Have the Power,” which originally appeared on Smith’s 1988 album Dream of Life. With car horns occasionally blaring in the background, Smith and Kaye delivered a stripped-down version of the song that just might be your antidote for this anxiety-packed Election Day. Just watch for yourself—and check your pulse if the image of Smith singing to a child on a New York City sidewalk doesn’t make you feel something, anything at all.
The video, posted by Zoe Leonard and the organization Joy to the Polls, begins with Smith apologizing for having to take her mask off to sing. (She stayed socially distant, don’t worry.) After the roughly four-minute-long performance, Smith says to the crowd, “Don’t forget it, use your voice! Vote!” It caps off the reemergence of the track during this election season, following a massive virtual performance of the song by Smith, Ben Harper, Tony Hawk (!), Cyndi Lauper, and more in an effort supporting climate action organization Pathway to Paris this September.
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Feel free to watch the video and sing along on a loop for the rest of the day. Lord knows it’ll beat watching some of the talking heads on repeat throughout the night.
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