Watch Patti Smith Cover Charlotte Day Wilson's "Work"

Smith has previously written of getting "lost in its light, spiritual groove"

Photos: Matt Forsythe (left), Lindsay Duncan (right)

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Nov 14, 2023

Patti Smith has been covering Charlotte Day Wilson's "Work" in recent live performances, and footage has emerged of the influential artist interpreting the Canadian's beloved song.

Fan-shot clips found below capture Smith's take on "Work" from a pair of October performances in Germany — with one uploader erroneously claiming it to be a new song.

User-submitted data via also points to a more recent Smith performance of "Work" over the weekend (November 11) at the Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston, NY. The videos eventually found their way to Wilson, who shared them earlier this week in an Instagram story.

Smith had previously chronicled her love of Wilson's "Work" in 2021 via her Substack newsletter, highlighting the song's "early rhythm and blues vibe" and how it's "lyrically plain yet powerful." She wrote of Wilson, "She says what she has to say, and her delivery is direct and without ornamentation. There is a link on YouTube where you can listen to a loop of ["Work"] for an hour. I listened to it several times, lost in its light, spiritual groove."

"This humble yet self-assured song touches me," she continued, reflecting on a world emerging from the pandemic. "As I listen, I feel our slow motion world speeding up again, and the mix of relief and regret it produces. The song is also gently propelling, and I see myself walking down the steps to the street, mingling with a few passersby that slowly multiply. The clouds overhead move past the sun and I can feel the warmth of its rays upon my shoulders. Those who I knew that did not make it through the pandemic are not forgotten. But neither is life with all its possibilities."

"'Work' is a song of inherent fortitude and one can apply her lyrics to the tasks, challenges and responsibilities we are all facing," Smith concluded. "It's a wonderful thing how a song, in all its simplicity, can inspire one to step out of a self-imposed cocoon, and quietly spread new formed wings."

Speaking with Exclaim! in 2016, Wilson shared how "after writing 'Work,' I felt like such a hypocrite," explaining, "I do think I have a really good work ethic, and I pride myself in spending as much time in the studio as possible, but I definitely have had moments this summer where I go out and enjoy myself, party with friends, and then wake up the next day and go 'I don't want to do anything.' You can't put a song like that out into the world and then just lie in bed and do nothing!"

In October, Wilson teamed with BADBADNOTGOOD on new track "Sleeper," which followed an August collaboration with Snoh Aalegra

Smith, meanwhile, shared original photography and reflections in publishing A Book of Days last year.

Tour Dates

Latest Coverage