On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
10,000 Maniacs – Because the Night (1993)
” Because the Night” is a song written by Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith that was first released in 1978 as a single from the Patti Smith Group 1978 album . This version rose to No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, as well as No.
We’re staying in the US today, dear reader, and extending our stay in New York, leaving Staten Island and heading over to Jamestown. Formed in 1981, 10,000 Maniacs focused on alternative rock as their favoured genre and were led by Natalie Merchant on vocals in their earliest incarnation. We join them in 1993 with the release of their live album, MTV Unplugged, and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track – Because the Night.
Because the Night was written by Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen and dates back to 1978 when it was released by Patti Smith Group. 10,000 Maniacs’ cover made a handful of changes to the lyrics for their live performance. The song itself is one of passion and love. The narrator reaches out to their lover and tries to comfort and reassure them with words and the promise of a warm and loving embrace. The night is what the narrator yearns for and tells their lover not to be afraid for the darkness is their time to be alone with not another single individual to interrupt their sanctuary with one another, their own private world.
The title of this song sounds familiar but upon listening I did not find it to be familiar. I do like the work of Patti Smith from what I have heard and was impressed to learn of her collaboration with Bruce Springsteen in writing this song. This performance by 10,000 Maniacs is memorable with Natalie Merchant’s voice towering over the music. The song would be the group’s biggest hit, placing higher than Patti Smith’s version. However, it was a swansong for Merchant who left the band after this performance to pursue a solo career. The band have continued without her but this remains their peak moment.
Favourite songs so far: