Patti Smith Group

Because the Night

Song Review by

Famous because Bruce Springsteen wrote it and Patti Smith had a hit with it, "Because the Night" remains a top favorite song among fans of both artists' catalogs. An atypically romantic song for Springsteen at the time, nevertheless, the tinkling piano intro is unmistakably his. Smith recalled in her book, Complete, that the anticipation she describes of being reunited with a lover was brought on by awaiting a "phone call from Detroit" on the night she finished the lyric. The universal theme that lovers are often separated throughout the days but the nighttime, whether in dreams or in reality, is reserved for them is what gives the song its strong, anthemic quality. Its structure also follows the form of the power ballad with its gentle verse that bursts into bold shapes for each chorus, retreats back again for the verse, and absolutely explodes at the bridge. The song went Top Ten in the U.K. and Top 20 in the U.S. in the spring of 1978. In 1993, 10,000 Maniacs covered it virtually note for note for its MTV Unplugged performance and "Because the Night" enjoyed a renaissance in FM radio airplay. Naturally, both Springsteen and Smith have been known to perform the song live throughout the years; Springsteen performs a breathless vocal/intense guitar jam version on his Live/1975-85 album.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Easter 1978 Arista 3:25
Sounds of the Seventies: 1978 1990
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:22
Classic Rock Box: WNEW-FM 25th Anniversary Box 1992
Various Artists
PolyGram 3:19
Rock of the 70's, Vol. 1 1992
Various Artists
EMI-Capitol Special Markets / CEMA Special Markets 0:00
The No. 1 70s Pop Album 2007
Various Artists
Music Club Deluxe 3:23
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Warner Music 3:18
The Pop Years: 1978-1979 2009
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 3:21
101 Running Songs 2009
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:20
Essential: The Power of Rock 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:20
Haynes Ultimate Guide to Rock: Dad 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music Entertainment 3:18
101 Punk & New Wave Anthems 2010
Various Artists
EMI 3:20
I Love Maman 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:17
I Love Papa 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music / Sony Music Distribution 3:23
Pure... America 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:23
Pure... Drive 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:23
Acoustic '70s [Warner] 2017
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Music
100 Hits: The Best Rock & Power Ballads
Various Artists
100 Hits / Sony Music 3:23
100 Hits: The Best Seventies Album
Various Artists
100 Hits / DMG 3:22
70's Songs
Various Artists
Crimson / Sony Music 3:23
Dad Songs
Various Artists
Crimson / Sony Music 3:22
The Classic Rock Collection [Sony Music]
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:21