Classic Rock History: Because the Night
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band recorded "Because the Night" at Atlantic Studios, New York on June 1, 1977, the first day of sessions for Darkness on the Edge of Town, though the lyrics only consisted of the song title and some mumbling. Springsteen struggled with the song almost four months until his engineer, Jimmy Iovine, got involved. At the time, Iovine was also producing the album Easter for Patti Smith at the Record Plant, New York, where Darkness was being recorded at the same time. Springsteen later admitted he was not satisfied with the song, and he already knew he wasn't going to finish it since it was "another love song";. Iovine brought Smith the last recording by Springsteen, from September 27, 1977. Smith added her own lyrics, recorded it for her album Easter, and scored her first and biggest hit single.
The song was first performed live at a Patti Smith concert at CBGB's in New York City on December 30, 1977 (Patti's 31st birthday) with Springsteen joining on vocals and guitar. Though it was never released on any of Springsteen's studio albums, in concert beginning with his Darkness Tour, Springsteen would often perform the song with his own lyrics. To date, he has performed it 503 times in concert.
"Because the Night" has subsequently been covered by numerous artists, and at least two of these cover versions have been chart hits. A 1992 version of the song by Co.Ro was a hit in several countries in Europe and South America, and reached No. 1 in Spain. The following year, a live acoustic version was recorded by 10,000 Maniacs for MTV Unplugged. This recording reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the highest charting version of the song in the U.S.