Jun 032011

December 30, 1977: “Because the Night” gets its first-ever live performance at a Patti Smith show at CBGB’s in New York, with Springsteen making a guest appearance on guitar and vocals.

March 3, 1978: Patti Smith’s Easter gets released, and “Because the Night” officially greets the world.

January 1, 1979: The first recorded cover of “Because the Night” comes courtesy of disco artist Mighty Pope. How timely. Note this prominence of piano in this cover; that’s a key instrument in the original song which basically disappears in later iterations.

March 18, 1979: Italian singer Anna Oxa delivers another early cover with “Notti per Due.” Her version remains quite faithful to Smith, but check out the growl in her voice – she’s angry.

1983: Canadian artist Siobhan Crawley records the song for his Somewhere in Between LP. No information on it seems to be available online, but its early release earns it a mention.

April 30, 1986: Springsteen meets metal thanks to Los Angeles glam band Keel. Check out this delightfully ’80s video – I really hope Bruce yelled “it belongs to ussss!” before the solo at least once in his life.

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November 10, 1986: With the release of Live/1975-85, audiences worldwide can finally connect “Because the Night” with Bruce Springsteen.

July 24, 1992: Swedish dance act CO.RO ft. Taleesa releases the first of many overseas club versions of the track. This obviously struck a chord with European audiences; many, many artists follow in CO.RO’s footsteps, which you’ll see below.

For more, including 10,000 Maniac’s #7 hit, continue to Page 3.

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  10 Responses to “Cover by Cover: Because the Night”

Comments (10)
  1. Wow. I started reading this post 2.5 hours ago. Thank the lord for the &YouTube player’s “+” button. Would have been even longer without it. I kept getting sidetracked by related tracks in YouTube.
    Hmmm. That playlist has finished. Time to browse back through “Rhythms del Mundo”. I had forgotten about those albums.

  2. “… written, at least in part, by the inimitable Bruce Springsteen,” is a bit of an understatemnent.

    Bruce wrote the song, music and lyrics. Patti was recording in the same studio in NY City. She heard it and commented how much she like it. Bruce was, and is, a great admirer of Smith. When the song didn’t make the cut for, Darkness on the Edge of Town,” he offered it to her. She asked it she could change two lines. Not only did he agree, he very magnimously gave her co-authorship, one of the few times in his career he has done this – Bruce Springsteen & Patti Smith.

    The first time I heard the song was in the Spring of 78 when Patti opened for the Rolling Stones at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. I thought, “Wow, what a great rocker.”

    The next time I saw it performed was also at the Fox, on September 30, 1978, the first time I saw Bruce. He played three hours of the greatest rock that had ever been or ever would be.

    When he came back to the mic after the long guitar solo to sing the chorus for the final time, it was one of the most exciting moments I’ve experienced in the roughly 100 big time rock shows I’ve attended. It looked a lots like this version, Passaic, NJ, about two weeks before than the Fox show.


    People are free to prefer any version they chose. In my experience it’s pretty tough to top Bruce Springsteen’s presentation of his own songs.

  3. One of the best most rockin’ versions I’ve ever seen Springsteen perform was earlier this year on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon!

    Bruce, Steve Van Zandt, Roy Bittan (both from the E Street Band) plus The Roots! It could very well be the only recorded version of Because The Night featuring a Tuba!


  4. Actually, there’s at least another BTN version with a tuba, and it features a tuba solo!
    Blues Jeans was an Italian acoustic blues trio and this version comes from a tape from the early 90’s and I think it’s one of the best BTN covers ever. Check it out here:

  5. Patti Smith still owns the song, though 10,000 Maniacs did a great version. Of the new ones presented here, I like the KT Tunstall samba. Thanks, fun post!

  6. I think this is a better example of, “Because the Night,” from the 1978 tour. It’s the version from Houston, on December 8, that’s in the boxed set released late last year. The set includes this entire show.


  7. @John: I definitely agree with you; the Bruce/Patti debate was left out of the post to put the focus on the covers. I actually originally had that very performance you linked to in an earlier draft. I love the way Bruce alters the lyrics there – “I spend all day working for the man.” It’s so interesting how he toyed with this song and it became something very different from the original version.

    Thanks everyone for the comments/enjoying the post!

  8. What about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert where it was performed by Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, and U2? It’s on youtube if anyone wants to watch it.

  9. I don’t know how you missed the great version by Michael Stipe and Springsteen where Stipe channels 10000 maniacs style vocals.

  10. Lenny Kaye has a nice live version — lean and muscular, like almost all of his work.

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