Watch Punk Icon Patti Smith Cover Rihanna’s ‘Stay’

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Rihanna performs in Abu Dhabi. (KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)

Rihanna performs in Abu Dhabi. (KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)

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By Scott T. Sterling

While Patti Smith’s commercial heyday was in the late ‘70s, her unwavering dedication to art and long-standing status as one of punk’s preeminent poets has allowed her to transition gracefully into a legacy artist who’s just as relevant now as she was then.

Over the years, Smith has never been afraid to embrace pop culture, recently declaring her love for the Hunger Games movie franchise, even writing a song (“Capital Letter”) for the Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack.

Now Smith has offered up her own version of Rihanna’s mega-smash “Stay,” calling it “the 2013 song of the year.”

Smith’s take on Rihanna’s song was captured during a performance at New York City’s Webster Hall last year. Her quiet, mournful take on the tune is true to the original, trading verses with her onstage pianist, Tony Shanahan. Shocked laughter can be heard from the crowd as the familiar chord progression rings out, but the audience seem to be won over by the end of the song.

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