Bruce Springsteen Gave ‘Because the Night’ to Patti Smith and She Didn’t Want to Sing It

Patti Smith wrote many classic rock songs; however, one of her most famous songs was co-written by Bruce Springsteen. During an interview, Smith revealed she didn’t want to sing a Springsteen song at first. Afterward, she had a very strong reaction to hearing the song for the first time.

Bruce Springsteen holding his guitar
Bruce Springsteen | Images/Getty Images

Why Patti Smith didn’t want to sing a Bruce Springsteen song

During an interview with Billboard, Smith said she had the opportunity to sing a song Springsteen wrote, but she didn’t want to take it. “When [producer Jimmy Iovine] gave it to me, I really resisted … Bruce was already established, and I felt like I should write my own songs,” Smith said. “Jimmy gave me this cassette tape — 40 years later and we still laugh about this — and I looked at it, and I thought, ‘I really want to write my own songs.’ So I put it on my mantle in my little place.”

Smith said she doesn’t remember everything that happened in her life, but she vividly remembers hearing “Because the Night” for the first time. “I stood there, and I shook my head, and I might have said it out loud: ‘It’s one of those darn hit songs,'” she recalled.

Patti Smith revealed why Bruce Springsteen gave her ‘Because the Night’

Smith remembered how the finished song was partly her creation and partly Springsteen’s. “Bruce had the music,” she said. “He had the chorus, but he was struggling with the verses, and he lost interest, I suppose.

“He was also embroiled in some legal matters,” Smith added. “Jimmy somehow talked him into letting me work on the song. We were in the same sphere; we were different kinds of people, but he trusted his song with me.”

The way the world reacted to ‘Because the Night’

“Because the Night” became Smith’s only top 40 single in the United States. It peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 18 weeks. Its parent album, Easter, was a hit as well. It peaked at No. 20 on the Billboard 200, remaining on the chart for 23 weeks. Besides Wave, it’s Smith’s only top 20 album.

“Because the Night” was Smith’s biggest hit in the United Kingdom too. The Official Charts Company reports the track peaked at No. 5 in the U.K. and lasted on the chart for 12 weeks. Easter peaked at No. 16 in the U.K. and remained on the chart for 14 weeks.


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“Because the Night” would later be covered by other artists such as Cascada, Garbage, and 10,000 Maniacs. The 10,000 Maniacs version of the song was a hit as well, peaking at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and staying on the chart for 29 weeks. “Because the Night” remains a classic of 1970s rock and it wouldn’t be the same without Springsteen.