"It was around 1986. I was in the kitchen and I was peeling potatoes. Fred came in and said, 'Tricia, people have the power, write it.' And I was standing there with a potato peeler thinking I'd like to have the power to make him peel these potatoes, that's what I'd like... but I kept him. So for the next few nights, I really contemplated - because Fred was very political, and we talked about it, what we wanted to do with this line, which was Fred's. And what we wanted to do was remind the listener of their individual power but also of the collective power of the people, how we can do anything. We wrote it consciously together to inspire people, to inspire people to come together." - Patti Smith
"It was really Fred's song - even though I wrote the words, he wrote the music; the concept was his, and he wanted it to be a song that people sang all over the world to inspire them for different causes. And he didn't live to see that happen, but I have. I've seen people. I've walked in marches all over the world where people spontaneously started singing it, you know, and it's so moving for me to see his dream realized." - Patti Smith
''THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG''
(click on the image)