‘O Holy Night,’ Patti Smith

Patti Smith sings "O Holy Night."

Patti Smith sings “O Holy Night.”

Patti Smith, who grew up in Deptford Township, helped create the genre of punk-rock, yet one of her most striking performances of recent years was her reverent, quietly intense version of “O Holy Night,” last year at the Vatican’s official Christmas concert. (She performed there again this year.) Check it out below.

As many rock critics have pointed out when writing about these events, Smith famously sang “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine” on her cover of the Van Morrison-written song “Gloria,” early in her career. She explained, though, to Rolling Stone last month, that this line “was a declaration of self, not so much about Jesus. He is the vehicle, but I was declaring my existence, my right to make my own mistakes, my right to make my own choices.

“I was defining the type of artist that was entering the domain of rock & roll and the type of artist that I was, one who was going to make her own decisions.”

New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday from Sept. 2014 to Sept. 2015. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. The complete list is here.


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