"Because the Night" is a song written by Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen that was first released in 1978 as a single off the Patti Smith Group album Easter. It rose to #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, as well as #5 in the United Kingdom, and helped propel sales of Easter to mainstream success – even as Smith was deciding to retire from a life of constant touring. In 1987, the song was ranked #116 on NME magazine's list of "The Top 150 Singles of All Time". It remains one of the best known songs of Smith's catalog.
The song was originally recorded by Bruce Springsteen during sessions for his Darkness on the Edge of Town album. He was not satisfied with it; the Patti Smith Group was working on Easter in the studio next door, with engineer/producer Jimmy Iovine working on both albums. Iovine gave Smith a tape of the song, she recast it, and it was included on Easter, becoming the first single released from that album. 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. The song was first performed live at a Patti Smith concert at CBGB's in New York City on December 30, 1977, with Springsteen joining on vocals and guitar. The only two commercially released recordings of a Springsteen version of the song were in the 1986 box set Live/1975–85, where Smith was listed as co-writer; and the 2010 compilation album The Promise (using the original recording from the Darkness on the Edge of Town sessions).
In 1992, Co.Ro released a version that featured Tarlisa that sold over 660,000 copies. It was a gold record in France and reached number one in Italy, Spain, and several other European countries. In Brazil, it was huge success, and became a big opening of a Eurodance explosion in the 1990s.
A well-known Unplugged version was recorded by 10,000 Maniacs in 1993 for MTV Unplugged, with a few lyrical alterations. The recording gained considerable radio airplay and reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100, which was the first time the group broke the top forty.
In 2008, Cascada recorded a version which appears on their second album Perfect Day. The music video for the single premiered on YouTube on 28 May 2008. The single was released on July 18, 2008 in Germany, July 21, 2008 in France and August 4, 2008 in the UK.
In early 2013, Garbage and Screaming Females recorded a cover of "Because the Night" for an exclusive vinyl release on that year's Record Store Day; an annual celebration of independent record stores. Garbage had released two singles ("Blood for Poppies" and "Battle In Me") to mark the 2012 event, and were keen to release "something special" for the following year. The band decided to record "Because the Night" with Screaming Females following some well-received duets of the track at live dates during their North American tour. Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females originally suggested covering "Because the Night" live. "We thought it'd be the perfect opportunity to solidify a recording and do something really special for the fans and for all the independent record stores," Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson told Billboard.
Garbage used social media to raise awareness of the release, and to Record Store Day in general. The band shot a video where they professed their love for independent stores, and stated their earliest memories of shopping in them, while Manson wrote a statement about the importance of the continued existence of these stores, and of vinyl records: "In a world like ours, where we live increasingly isolated lives behind the lonely glow of our computer screens, Record Store Day reminds us all that an independent record store is worth protecting and fighting for. They are a haven and a harbour for all curious and wandering souls". Manson also tipped her hat to Patti Smith in the run-up to RSD 2013: "She is absolutely, without a doubt, one of my greatest inspirations. When I think I can't do things, I think about her and what she's achieved and what she continues to achieve on her own terms—always. That really inspires me. I don't know if she's aware of the cover we're releasing, or if she's aware that I covered "Kimberly" with Angelfish."
"Because the Night" was pressed to a "Coke bottle-green" 10" vinyl and backed with "Love Like Suicide" and a fan remix of the album's opening track "Automatic Systematic Habit". An original Garbage song, "Love Like Suicide" had been previously released as bonus track exclusive to the Japan pressing of Not Your Kind of People. Manson explained the songs inclusion to MySpace: "We’re releasing it now because we wanted to give a nice gift for the fans." The remix of "Automatic..." was produced by Garbage fan Konstantin Khazev and won first prize in an amateur remix competition held through the Beatport website in 2012. The RSD package was limited to 5,000 units, with the sleeve artwork created by Marissa Paternoster.
The release of "Because the Night" in the United Kingdom was delayed due to problems with the record's distributor. The band made a statement via social media the evening before Record Store Day: "We are so pissed off and disappointed about this. And so sad that on Record Store Day in the UK our little jewel will not be available for sale". The UK release of "Because the Night" was rescheduled to May 13, 2013.
On May 7, 2013, Garbage issued a digital single of "Because the Night" in the United States, which was followed a week later by an international digital release.
While Garbage and Screaming Females recorded at EastWest Studios, Sophie Muller shot black and white footage to document the sessions. On March 4, 2013, a teaser video was released to YouTube featuring clips of the band members. The full music video was subsequently released on April 17; ahead of Record Store Day.
The cover version of "Because the Night" was positively received by contemporary music critics in advance of Record Store Day. Billboard magazine's Hilary Hughes stated, "...the Garbage/Screaming Females release embodies the shifts brought on by Record Store Day that impact the music industry across the board-and the shaping trends that have fueled Record Store Day's meteoric rise from a community experiment to an international movement," referencing the pairing of artists and the independent label of release. Chris Martins of Spin wrote, "...the bands gel awesomely. The highlight comes when Paternoster starts to shred. We have a feeling Miss Smith will be proud."
In 1994, the experimental alternative band Sonic Youth drastically reworked the song for the first track, "Becuz", from their album Washing Machine, playing on the repetitive aspects of Smith's original, and contrasting Smith's ebullient vocals with a breathy near-whisper by Kim Gordon, a departure from Gordon's ordinarily Smith-like grunge-era delivery.
Trip hop band Earthling recorded a cover of the song for their Blood Music EP released in 1996.
A version by punk singer Beki Bondage appeared on the 1997 compilation album Barefoot – A Tribute to Patti Smith, and also featured as the opening track on the gothic/fetish-themed compilation Stiletto Vamp released on the now defunct Dressed to Kill label.
In 1998, the song appeared on an unofficial/official live release by the Waterboys titled The Live Adventures of the Waterboys. The song appears as a medley with the Waterboys song "The Pan Within." While the album was released in 1998, the recording is from a 1986 concert.
In 1998, Kim Wilde released a cover of the song, which appears on the Germany-only various artists release Philharmania.
The Spanish band Tahúres zurdos covered this for their 2000 album El tiempo de la luz. The title ("La noche es") and the lyrics where translated into Spanish, but the song kept the "Because the night belongs to lovers, because the night belongs to us" part intact in English. The lyrics are not a literal translation, but still quite true to the original.
Japanese singer-songwriter Chihiro Onitsuka performed a live cover at the Yokohama Arena on August 23, 2001.
German DJ Jan Wayne released a dance version in 2002 that reached number 14 in the UK and topped the charts in the Netherlands for several weeks. It reached number 2 on the Belgian charts.
In 2008, the Italian project May released their own version of the song, under the label D:vision.
In 2008, the Italian Gothic metal band Domina Noctis covered this song on their second album, Second Rose.
In 2008, the French Dark electro band A7IE performed a live cover on November 1, 2008, in France. This song is available on True Mania 5 Years Compilation.
In 2009, the London-based octet Brontosaurus Chorus had their version of the song included on the Springsteen tribute album Play Some Pool, Skip Some School, Act Real Cool, released on the WIAIWYA label.
In 2012, US X Factor contestant CeCe Frey performed this for her first live show.
Irish singer/songwriter Hazel Kaneswaran covered this song and released it as a single.
In 2012, alternative rock band Garbage performed an excerpt of the song at the end of the performance of their first single "Vow".