[My Gang] Patti Smith Group - Because The Night : Reco of the Week 16 Nov 2010


Nov 16 2010, 13:44

Track: Because the Night
Artist: Patti Smith Group
Album: Easter (1977) [ We7 | Spotify ]
Tags: , , , ,
Video: Click the pic...

YouTube, audio upload

The song of the moment for me most definitely is Bruce Springsteen's Because the Night, available now on the best album never released, The Promise which features 21 previously-unreleased songs from Darkness on the Edge of Town, out today.

I've written about Bruce Springsteen and the Darkness before, so my reco this week is Patti Smith's version, the one I grew up with and which forms part of the soundtrack of my life.

From the track wiki:
"Because the Night" is a song by the Patti Smith Group, written by Smith and Bruce Springsteen, released as a single in 1978, taken from Smith's album Easter. According to the Because the Night Songfacts, Springsteen gave it to Patti Smith because he thought it would suit her voice. He was also in a legal battle with his manager, Mike Appel, that kept him from recording for almost 3 years. The song was a hit, rising to #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and helping propel sales of Easter to mainstream success – even as Smith was deciding to retire from a life of constant touring. The song remains one of the best known of Smith's catalog.

In 1987, "Because the Night" by Patti Smith Group was ranked number 116 on NME magazine's list of "The Top 150 Singles of All Time".

Patti Smith's version is aggressive and urgent. My favourite part is the middle of the song, the way the lyrics scan with the rhythm:

With love we sleep
With doubt the vicious circle
Turns and burns
Without you I cannot live
Forgive, the yearning burning
I believe it's time, too real to feel

Smith's version differs from Springsteen's:

Your love is here and now
The vicious circle turns and burns without
Though I cannot live forgive me now
The time has come to take this moment and
They can't hurt you now

(lyrics: brucespringsteen.net)

I admire the way at this point the lines are broken down to individual words to heighten the emotion, each one emphasised and punched through.

In many ways, Smith's version is more masculine than Springsteen's which is softer and gentler. There is a long video from 1978 that's a rewarding watch, though it's not as tender as the recorded version: Spinner: Bruce Springsteen - Because The Night live video.

(Source: MySpace)

If Springsteen's songs are good, some of the ones on The Promise are gorgeous, more personal, soulful and yearning in their unfinished, unpolished state. The Brokenhearted and Wrong Side of the Street in particular. Candy's Boy was darkened to become Candy's Room on the Darkness. Come On (Let's Go Tonight) was reworked to become The Factory.

Because The Night is among a few giveaways. His Fire is lo-fi, pulled back and less insistent than The Pointer Sisters hit, bringing you closer. He gave This Little Girl to Gary "U.S." Bonds. The Fever and Talk to Me went to Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes. Rendezvous to Greg Kihn.

Further reading:

Pitchfork: Video: Bruce Springsteen: "The Promise"
BBC Review
Drowned In Sound review


- My Gang

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Disclaimer: Mines

Admin: Stats as of today:

Last.fm listeners of this track - 25,522
No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 93,240
Position in Last 7 Days: 1 / 861
Position in Last 6 Months: 1 / 10,582

Date Added: April 27, 2008
Views: 440,880, Comments: 201, Likes: 1,065, Dislikes: 8

Stats after 7 days:

Last.fm listeners of this track - 25,704
No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 94,063
Position in Last 7 Days: 1 / 861
Position in Last 6 Months: 1 / 10,582

Views: 455,246, Comments: 205, Likes: 1,108, Dislikes: 8

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  • rwitte

    Smashing opinion piece - of course I have probably loved the track as long as you have. I always associate this track and I Go To Sleep which was a present from Ray davies[/rtist] to Chrissie Hynd.

    Nov 18 2010, 20:53
  • Babs_05

    Ohhh now that's a tune. Yes, I love that too. Didnt' know it was a present, good trivia. Thanks as always for the comment, rwitte. :)

    Nov 19 2010, 0:47
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