Because the Night: the meaning and the story of a rock anthem

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Because The Night is a rock masterpiece written by Bruce Springsteen at the end of the 70s. The Boss realized that there was not room for this track in his album (Darkness in the Edge of Town) and decided to pass it to Patti Smith, who was recording the album Easter in the studio next to his one.

The lyrics were adapted by Patti Smith in a more feminine perspective. It was evening, Patti Smith had a telephone appointment around 6pm with whom, three years later, would become her husband, Fred. He didn’t call. During her waiting, she wrote that the night belongs to lovers. She ended at 2 a.m., and then Fred called her.

Have I doubt, baby, when I’m alone
Love is a ring on the telephone
Love is an angel, disguised as lust
Here in our bed ’til the morning comes

Although Smith is a Rock icon and Because the Night one of her strongest pieces, perhaps the first one that has sent her into the history of music, it is always a special emotion for me to hear a piece sung by the real father of the song. The mood differs in the two versions, but using the same vehicle you can go wherever you want. And they are the living proof.

Patti Smith’s version is deeply feminine. The intro is slow and sensual and she enters with the anger of a strong woman who has already decided, despite of the burden of waiting, that she will forgive Fred, because this is what she wants. The drums that explodes in a roar say just that: in some moments the wait is almost unbearable, but if you’re Patti Smith you can make a gif from God out of it. Those drums, in the way they arrive, can unleash anything.

Fred will call, and that expectation will turn into excitement, deep excitement, hot excitement.

Springsteen’s live is, again, another story. Even at low resolution.

The drums arrive sweeter, leave room for the Boss’s voice. Bolder, firmer.

There is more room for a guitar that makes the song more controlled: in Smith’s version the wait is THE protagonist and the singer fights against it until she wins. In Springsteen’s version he is the driver, and he’s driving the night.

Smith fights.
Springsteen decides.

The Boss live performance is one of the strongest rock performances ever. The depth of his voice is immense.

Springsteen’s live is pure Rock: romance and power together, decision. And strength, strength, strength.

It’s roses and storm.
It’s a roar.
It’s Rock.

Because the night belongs to lovers
Because the night belongs to us

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