Kaye was born in Manhattan, New York City, and grew up in Queens and Brooklyn, before moving to North Brunswick Township, New Jersey when he was a teenager. There he formed his first bands, The Vandals, and later The Zoo, and recorded a folk-protest song called "Crazy Like a Fox" in 1966, under the name of Link Cromwell.
He graduated from Rutgers University in 1968.
Kaye has been Patti Smith's most frequent collaborator since 1971, when they performed their first poetry reading together; He played lead guitar on all of the Patti Smith Group's albums, and on many of Smith's solo releases. He wrote the liner notes and assembled the tracks for Nuggets (1972), which included one of the first uses of the term "Punk rock".
In the 1980s, he had his own band, Lenny Kaye Connection, which released an album I've Got A Right. A successful producer, he helmed the first two albums by Suzanne Vega and the first solo effort by Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses (the album Hips and Makers), among many others. Other artists he has worked with are Soul Asylum (Hang Time), Allen Ginsberg ("Ballad of the Skeletons"), The Weather Prophets (Mayflower), James (Stutter), and Cindy Lee Berryhill (Naked Movie Star).
His books include Waylon Jennings' autobiography Waylon: An Autobiography, which he co-authored with Jennings. His most recent book is You Call It Madness, based on the life of the 1930s crooner Russ Columbo, published in 2004 by Random House. He has been nominated three times for Grammy Award for Best Album Notes for boxed sets on the Bleecker & MacDougal, Crossroads and Elektrock.
Lenny Kaye Connection
- I've Got a Right (1984)
For further information, see Patti Smith discography on Wikipedia.
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