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Decades later, fan returns stolen Patti Smith gear

16 october 2015, 16:16

Thirty-six years after her tour truck was stolen, rock legend Patti Smith was moved to tears as a fan returned a bandana from her late brother and other items thought to have been inside the stolen truck, AFP reports.

Smith was in the Chicago area to promote her new book "M Train" when an audience member told her she had a bag of the singer's clothes.

Smith appeared "totally confused" but then sifted through the bag on stage and found at the bottom a bandana from her brother, Todd, who died in 1994, a witness said.

"Here was a bandana that her beloved late brother had worn and then given to her, and she starts to weep. Before long, half the audience was crying with her," the witness, identified as maxnix, wrote in on an online music forum.

The Internet user said the items also included a shirt Smith wore on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and a T-shirt with the image of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards in which she was frequently photographed.

A 1979 article in the Chicago Tribune said that Smith's Ryder rental truck was stolen from outside a Holiday Inn hotel after she played a show at the Aragon Ballroom, still a prominent music venue.

The article said that the stolen goods included guitars, amplifiers and other items worth $40,000, which would be more than $130,000 in 2015 money.

Monday, the Tribune said that the fan who returned Smith's items at the reading, which took place Sunday, explained that she came into possession of them decades ago through a friend of her then-roommate who was working for U-Haul, a different rental car company.

The woman, Noreen Bender, said that she had long sought to return the items to Smith but could not figure out how, believing it was inappropriate to throw them on stage at a concert.

"The feeling of making your hero happy, it was a moment. It was the highlight of my life," Bender told the newspaper.

Smith's new book "M Train" is largely about her journey through memories and explores her brother's death.

The book follows Smith's 2010 memoir "Just Kids," a bittersweet account of her relationship with late avant-garde photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction.

Often described as the godmother of punk, Smith is touring to promote her book and to mark the 40th anniversary of her influential album "Horses."

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