This is a wild, ragged love song by two of New Jersey’s finest. Co-written by Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen, and released by Smith in 1978, the song casts the bond between the two protagonists as both life-sustaining and all-consuming, both elixer and narcotic. The song captures the exhileration you experience tying your fate to another, and the conflicting sense of safetly and powerlessness this creates. It’s powerful, it’s bold, and it has one of the all-time greatest sing-along choruses.
I’m reading Just Kids by Patti Smith right now, which is just great. The stark images and inspired word choice that are hallmarks of her lyrics and poetry also show up in the book – so far it’s an amazing account of living in New York in the late 60s. The book is mostly about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, the controversial artist and photographer who was briefly Smith’s partner before he came out. Their friendship remained strong, she describes in the book, each providing support for the other during trying times. Their relationship maintained a sense of romance despite their attachment to others – it was much more than a conventional friendship.
I’m probably reading too much into this, but I think that this relationship with Mapplethorpe informs the verses to “Because the Night”. It makes for interesting suppositions, anyway. Here’s a couple versions of the song, by Smith and others.