Lenny Kaye is notable in the history of rock primarily for his coining of the term "punk rock" as well as for popularizing the garage rock of the 1960s that led to later forms of punk music. The following timeline chronicles some of his contributions to punk as well as to music generally:

Year unknown: Born, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

1965: Releases psychedelic/folk/garage single “Crazy Like a Fox” b/w "Shock Me", as Link Cromwell and The Zoo.

1971, Feb.: Patti Smith reads Kaye’s essay on doo-wop "The Best of Acapella", (Jazz & Pop Magazine, now anthologized in The Penguin Book of Rock and Roll Writing) and seeks him out to ask him to accompany her at a spoken-word performance at St. Mark’s Church in New York’s Lower East Side.

1972: Release of Nuggets, Kaye’s compilation of 1960s garage rock on Elektra Records. Nuggets inspires critical interest in garage rock as a genre. In the liner notes, Kaye refers to the genre as “punk rock,” the first known usage of the term. The compilation brings exposure to such groups as The Seeds, The Chocolate Watchband, The 13th Floor Elevators, The Remains, The Standells and The Electric Prunes.

1973: Lenny Kaye and Patti Smith form the Patti Smith Group, with Kaye playing lead guitar. The group gigs regularly at New York clubs such as Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s.

1975: The Patti Smith Group debut album Horses is released.

1977: Publication of the Rock 100 Encyclopedia, edited by Kaye and David Dalton.

1979: Smith injures her neck falling off stage and retires from live performance, disbanding the Patti Smith Group.

1980: Lenny forms his own group, the Lenny Kaye Connection.

1984: The Lenny Kaye Connection releases I’ve Got a Right LP on the Giorno Poetry Systems label. Kaye joins Jim Carroll’s backup band.

1985: Produces Suzanne Vega’s debut LP Suzanne Vega. Plays steel guitar on Eugene Chadbourne’s Country Protest LP.

1986: Produces JamesStutter LP. Teaches course on Rock History at Rutgers University.

1987: Produces Suzanne Vega’s Solitude Standing LP.

1988: Produces Soul Asylum’s Hang Time LP.

1996: Rejoins Patti Smith for her comeback LP Gone Again. Co-writes Waylon Jennings’ autobiography.


I would appreciate any more information anyone has on Lenny Kaye, notably the year of his birth!

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.