July 31, 2007: The first home-recorded cover of “Because the Night” gets uploaded to YouTube by user vitsuneto. In this day and age, that seems like a milestone worth recognizing.
April 10, 2008: Swiss singer Pearl delivers Smith by way of Evanescence in her heavy cover. Full audio’s not available, but you can hear a sample on her MySpace page.
July 18, 2008: Another German performer, another club number. No doubt influenced by Jan Wayne, hot dance act Cascada gives her own version of “Because the Night” to the world. This one had a fair amount of chart success in Europe, though it performed best in Latvia, almost cracking the Top 10 (true story)!
September 19, 2008: German metal band Das Scheit takes a bit of a kitchen sink approach to Smith’s song, combining grand strings, pervasive synths, heavy guitars and intensely whispered vocals. Is it metal or is it dance? European audiences seem to love both.
October 22, 2008: Speaking of metal and dance, Italian gothic band Domina Noctis focuses on combining Cascada with Keel’s sensibilities.
November 1, 2008: But the French electro band A7IE outcreeps their European comrades with a version that somehow embellishes both the club and metal elements of previous readings. The vocal delivery here is straight-up bizarre.
May 15, 2009: New Jersey singer Leah Kamiya brings an R&B flair to Smith’s track. It’s weird no one thought of this before.
June 2, 2009: Club versions of “Because the Night” will never die, but on Israeli compilation Rock 2 Dance Discovery attempts to return the song to its guitar-driven roots.
July 31, 2009: KT Tunstall and the Buena Vista Social Club release a super-cool samba version for the charity record Rhythms del Mundo Classics. Tunstall’s one of the only artists to keep Smith’s outro vocals intact.
August 10, 2009: English indie-pop band Brontosaurus Chorus release a string-heavy version for the Springsteen tribute Play Some Pool, Skip Some School, Act Real Cool. Their extended string-quartet intro comes the closest to recalling Springsteen’s vamping at his ’70s shows.
April 1, 2010: Italian duo Attack and Party release an interesting version of the song powered by twin acoustic guitars with just a hint of synthesizer. Full audio’s unavailable, but check out this sample on Amazon.
July 18, 2010: German metal band Black Rosedoes something no other group approaches with “Because the Night”: they pay tribute to Keel! It’s a little softer than Keel’s version, but all the trappings are in place, from the weird solo to the few chords Keel got wrong in their recording.
November 16, 2010: Bringing it back to the beginning, Springsteen releases The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story box set, which allows fans to hear for the first time his original recording of “Because the Night.”
March 21, 2011: But wait, the story continues! Back over in Europe, singer Clara Moroni releases a hard-rocking version of “Because the Night” on her latest album, Bambina Brava. Here we have, perhaps, a more solid attempt at combining the sensibilities of Keel and Cascada, with more of the original Smith flavor thrown in.
Favorite cover? Least favorite? Any we missed? Chime in in the comments below!