This article is from the R.E.M. FAQ, by Ron Henry (firstname.lastname@example.org) with numerous contributions by others.
The background singer on the song "E-bow the Letter", Patti Smith, is an
important figure from the late 70's punk/new wave scene in New York whose
albums (especially Horses and Easter) are considered by many people
essential milestones in the development of American rock music. She has
also published several books of Beat-influenced poetry over the years. Her
influence on the members of R.E.M., especially Michael Stipe and Peter
Buck, has long been noted in interviews with the band.