Most of us guys of a certain GLO-centeric age well remember when the pop/rock/new wave band Scandal popped up on the music scene. Thanks to a terrific, beautiful lead singer in a mini skirt belting out catchy rock anthems, Scandal became an MTV heavy rotation band back in the early 80’s.
Patty Smyth, who used the letter “y” in her last name to avoid confusion with punk rock pioneer and fellow New Yorker Patti Smith, fronted Scandal for just a couple of albums with her dynamic voice and slender good looks, but man they were fun albums. Their debut in 1981 was an “EP,” or extended play, and had five songs on it, two of which became hits. The Scandal EP was, for many years, the top-selling EP in Columbia Records history. Scandal’s second (first full) album, Warrior, vaulted the band into international, albeit short-lived, fame.
When Scandal fell apart after that, Smyth was offered by friend Eddie Van Halen to become the band’s lead singer! Imagine how rock history would’ve turned out had she accepted that gig. Her first couple solo albums were good, I loved ’em, influenced by seeing her at a show in the mid ’80’s at the just-reopened and renovated Fox Theater in Detroit. My high school buddy Dave Peiler and I threw on sports coats and slid down next to the side of the stage, where security fell for our “we’re important and belong here” act, letting us watch up close and personal.
Her solo career was good, but never quite reached the rock mountaintop. I like to say, “Patty Smyth should’ve been the next Pat Benatar.” As good as her career was, it could’ve been even bigger. Her biggest hit came after her high-energy Scandal days, when she scored with the 1992, soft ballad duet with Don Henley, “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough.” She sang backing vocals on a couple of big Henley albums, too, “End of Innocence” anyone? She got Grammy and Oscar-nominated for the movie music “Look What Love Has Done,” from the soundtrack for film Junior. She also sang a cool tune for the movie Armageddon called, “Wish That I Were You.”
Of my comparison of her to Benatar…perhaps she was too much like Benatar. Both were big-voiced, attractive New Yorkers and maybe they were too similar for Patty to get the recognition she deserved. Smyth even married a consummate New Yorker, tennis bad boy John McEnroe. Either way, Smyth’s one of my favorite all-time female rockers. She’s appearing in Aurora, IL, June 27, and all this week at 6:15p on Doc’s Deep Dive.
M, 4/29, Goodbye To You
Tu, 4/30, All I Want
W, 5/1, Isn’t It Enough
Th, 5/2, Heartache Heard Around The World
F, 5/3, Love’s Got A Line On You