Patti Smith’s “Rock N’ Roll N****r” is no longer on streaming services

Patti Smith Group's song "Rock N Roll N****r," the closing track to Side A of their classic 1978 album Easter, has been removed from Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and other streaming services. Rolling Stone notes that it's unclear when the song was removed, but it is still included with digital downloads of the album, and is unsurprisingly still on physical copies of the album which also includes Smith's most well-known song, the hit "Because the Night."

The song has always been controversial and Patti defended using the N-word to a Rolling Stone reporter not long after Easter was released, saying "on our liner notes I redefined the word n****r as being an artist-mutant that was going beyond gender." Specifically Easter's liner notes say: "N****r no invented for color it was MADE FOR THE PLAGUE. The word (art) must be redefined — all mutants and the new babies born sans eyebrow and tonsil … any man who extends beyond the classic form is a n***r."

The song, which Pitchfork included in their 2008 book The Pitchfork 500: Our Guide to the Greatest Songs from Punk to the Present, has been covered by Marilyn Manson and Hole, and Patti continued to perform it until recently (not since 2019, though).

Patti Smith declined to comment to Rolling Stone, and guitarist/collaborator Lenny Kaye did not respond to the magazine's inquiries.