Nick Fradiani has been a quiet horse in this year’s American Idol race. The musician from Connecticut has escaped elimination all season and is now headed to the final rounds with Jax and Clark Beckham. Wednesday night, Fradiani performed the rock classic “Because the Night,” which the judges said was the best performance of that particular round.
On American Idol, “Because the Night” was credited to Bruce Springsteen, but the song is known as much as a Patti Smith classic as one of Springsteen’s. As a CBC report recalled, Springsteen wrote “Because the Night” in the late-1970s but felt it didn’t fit with his own music at the time. As quoted by Ace Showbiz in 2010, Springsteen said that then-engineer, and future American Idol mentor, Jimmy Iovine convinced him to give the song to Patti.
“Jimmy Iovine, who was then an engineer… he drove me to Coney Island, and somehow he talked me into giving up the song, which I’m glad that I did because I wasn’t going to finish it, and she finished it.”
“It would have never seen the light of day, much less been the song that it is if it wasn’t for her working on it, so thank you Patti.”
Smith rewrote some of the lyrics to reflect the state of her love affair with her then-boyfriend Fred Smith.
“I still tried to resist it but I filled in the blanks and in the blanks it tells the story of me waiting for Fred to call and of my love for Fred.”
Eventually “Because the Night” became strongly associated with both Smith and Springsteen, although their versions of the song have slightly different lyrics. One live performance by Bruce Springsteen features a guitar-solo intro that is more than two and a half minutes long.
“Because the Night” was the choice of American Idol mentor Scott Borchetta for Fradiani to perform. The caption for the official American Idol video of the performance states in part, “Finally, some Bruce (and Patti Smith. But more Bruce Springsteen here)!”
There’s still another famous version of “Because the Night” that fans will remember. 10,000 Maniacs performed it on an MTV Unplugged special in 1993. The song was a hit for the band.
Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith joined forces to perform the song, with a little help from U2, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary in 2010.
Bono said, “This is the song we wish we’d written.”
You can have a look at that video below and then check out Nick Fradiani’s version from last Wednesday’s American Idol.
American Idol next airs on Tuesday at 9 p.m. on Fox. The new Idol will be crowned on Wednesday.
[Nick Fradiani image courtesy of Getty]