Patty Smyth is an American singer and songwriter who rose to fame in the 1980s and 1990s with her distinctive voice and powerful lyrics.
Born on June 26, 1957, in New York City, Smyth grew up in a musical family and was exposed to a wide variety of genres from an early age.
Her father was a jazz musician, and her mother was a classically trained singer, which influenced Smyth’s musical style and range.
Smyth first gained recognition as the lead singer of the band Scandal, which was formed in 1981.
The band’s debut album, ‘Scandal,’ released in 1982, was a commercial success, and Smyth’s vocals on the hit single ‘Goodbye to You’ garnered critical acclaim.
Smyth’s powerful voice and emotive performances quickly made her a favorite among fans and critics alike, and she went on to achieve success as a solo artist in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
- Patty Smyth was a successful American singer and songwriter who gained recognition as the lead singer of the band Scandal in the 1980s.
- She achieved success as a solo artist in the late 1980s and early 1990s and collaborated with several notable musicians from different genres throughout her career.
- Smyth was vocal about her struggles with addiction and mental health issues and became an advocate for cancer research and fundraising after her daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer.
- She was involved in advocating for LGBT rights and ending domestic violence and her upcoming album, ‘It’s About Time,’ promises to blend rock, blues, and soul influences.
Early Life and Musical Influences
Patty Smyth’s formative years were marked by exposure to various musical genres and artists, including blues, jazz, and rock, which played a significant role in shaping her artistic style and musical sensibilities.
Born in New York City in 1957, Smyth grew up in a musically diverse household. Her father was an Irish tenor who performed in opera and musical theater, while her mother was a jazz singer.
Smyth’s parents encouraged her to pursue music at a young age, and she began taking piano lessons as a child.
As a teenager, Smyth became interested in artists like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin. She was particularly drawn to the raw, emotional energy of blues and rock music, which would later become a defining characteristic of her own music.
Smyth also began writing her own songs as a teenager, drawing on her own experiences and emotions to create music that was both personal and relatable.
These early influences would set the stage for Smyth’s future success as a singer-songwriter.
Rise to Fame with Scandal
Scandal, the rock band formed in New York City in the early 1980s, gained national attention and rose to fame with their hit song ‘Goodbye to You’ featuring the powerful vocals of their lead singer, Patty Smyth.
The song, which peaked at number 65 on the Billboard Hot 100, became an anthem for the heartbroken and was featured prominently on MTV.
The success of ‘Goodbye to You’ propelled the band’s debut album, ‘Scandal’, to reach number 52 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Smyth’s distinctive voice and stage presence quickly garnered attention and praise from fans and critics alike.
She was known for her dynamic performances and ability to infuse emotion into every lyric she sang.
Scandal continued to release successful albums throughout the 1980s, with their second album, ‘Warrior’, reaching number 17 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Smyth’s powerful vocals and songwriting skills helped the band achieve commercial success and cemented her status as one of the leading female rock vocalists of the era.
Solo Career and Albums
Following the disbandment of the group, the lead singer pursued a solo career and released several albums that showcased her versatility as an artist.
In 1992, she released her debut solo album titled ‘Never Enough’which featured the hit single ‘Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough’in collaboration with Don Henley.
The song became a commercial success, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and earning a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Female.
The album itself also received positive reviews, with critics praising Smyth’s voice and songwriting skills.
Smyth continued to release albums throughout the 1990s and 2000s, including ‘Patty Smyth'(1997), ‘Wish I Were You'(1999), and ‘It’s About Time'(2006).
Her music evolved with each album, showcasing her ability to blend various genres such as rock, pop, and country.
Although her success as a solo artist was not as prominent as her time with Scandal, Smyth continued to tour and perform, building a loyal fanbase.
Her contributions to music have been recognized with various accolades, including induction into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2014.
Collaborations with Notable Musicians
Throughout her career, the acclaimed singer has collaborated with several notable musicians from different genres, including Don Henley, Eddie Van Halen, and Sting, among others.
In 1986, Smyth teamed up with Don Henley to record ‘Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough,’which became a hit single. The song showcased Smyth’s soaring vocals and Henley’s distinctive voice and featured poignant lyrics about the difficulties of relationships. The song’s success earned Smyth her first Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female.
In addition to Henley, Smyth has also collaborated with Eddie Van Halen, the renowned guitarist of the rock band Van Halen, on her 1992 album ‘Patty Smyth.’The album features Van Halen’s virtuosic guitar playing on several tracks, including ‘River of Love’and ‘Isn’t It Enough.’Smyth’s distinctive voice combined with Van Halen’s searing guitar riffs created a unique sound that earned critical acclaim.
Smyth has also teamed up with Sting on several occasions, including a live performance of the song ‘Every Breath You Take’at the Bridge School Benefit concert in 1999. Their collaboration showcased Smyth’s versatility as a performer and her ability to work with musicians from different genres.
One of Patty Smyth’s chart-topping hits was the 1987 single ‘The Warrior,’ which reached number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and helped to establish her as a solo artist.
The song was written by Smyth and her then-husband, guitarist and songwriter, Richard Hell. It features a catchy guitar riff and an anthemic chorus that became a staple of 80s rock radio.
The success of ‘The Warrior’ helped Smyth’s debut album, ‘Never Enough,’ achieve gold certification and paved the way for her subsequent hit singles.
To understand the significance of ‘The Warrior’ and other chart-topping hits by Patty Smyth, it is essential to recognize the cultural context of the 80s music scene.
During this era, rock music was dominated by male artists, and it was rare for a female artist to achieve mainstream success.
Smyth’s ability to break through this barrier and establish herself as a solo artist speaks volumes about her talent and determination.
Her chart-topping hits not only showcased her powerful vocals and songwriting abilities but also served as an inspiration to future generations of female rock artists.
Impact on the Music Industry
The success of ‘The Warrior’ and other chart-topping hits by Patty Smyth in the male-dominated 80s music industry cannot be overstated. Her powerful voice and rock sensibility broke through barriers and paved the way for future generations of female rock artists. Smyth’s influence on the music industry extends beyond her own success as an artist, as she highlighted the need for greater representation of women in the industry and helped to open doors for other female artists.
Smyth’s impact on the music industry is evident in the numerous female rock artists who followed in her footsteps. The 90s saw the rise of female-led bands such as Garbage, No Doubt, and Hole, all of whom cited Smyth as an influence. In more recent years, artists like Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine and Halsey have also pointed to Smyth as a source of inspiration.
By breaking through barriers and paving the way for future generations, Smyth has left an indelible mark on the music industry and continues to be a trailblazer for women in rock.
Awards and Recognition
Awards and recognition have been bestowed upon Patty Smyth for her contribution to the music industry. Smyth has been nominated for several awards throughout her career and has won a few as well.
In 1985, she was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for her hit song ‘The Warrior.’ Smyth was also nominated for a Grammy Award in 1993 for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female for her song ‘Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough,’ which she collaborated on with Don Henley.
Apart from Grammy nominations, Smyth has also won a few awards. In 2015, she was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. The following year, she was awarded the Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award at the Long Island Music Hall of Fame’s annual gala. The award recognized Smyth’s dedication to charitable causes and her work with the Rock and Roll for Children Foundation.
These awards and nominations are a testament to Smyth’s talent as a musician and her impact on the music industry.
Personal Life and Family
Patty Smyth has led a private life out of the public eye, but her family has played a significant role in shaping her personal and professional endeavors.
Smyth married punk rock musician Richard Hell in the early 1990s and had a daughter, Ruby, with him. The couple divorced in 1999.
Smyth later married tennis legend John McEnroe in 1997. They have two daughters together, Anna and Ava.
In addition to her own family, Smyth has been involved in various philanthropic causes, including serving as an ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and participating in events to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research.
Smyth has also been vocal about her struggles with addiction and has used her platform to advocate for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues.
Overall, Smyth’s personal life and family have played a significant role in shaping her outlook on life and her contributions to society.
Philanthropic Work and Activism
Moving on from Patty Smyth’s personal life and family, it is worth noting her philanthropic work and activism. Throughout her career, Smyth has been vocal about her support for various causes and has actively worked towards making a difference in the world.
One of the causes close to Smyth’s heart is the fight against cancer. In 1996, her daughter, Ruby, was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer. Smyth took a break from her music career to focus on her daughter’s treatment and recovery. After Ruby’s successful battle with cancer, Smyth became an advocate for cancer research and fundraising.
She has performed at numerous charity events to raise money and awareness for cancer research, including the Stand Up to Cancer telethon in 2010. Smyth’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, and she has been recognized for her contributions to cancer research by various organizations.
In addition to her work in the fight against cancer, Smyth has also been involved in various other charitable causes. She has been an advocate for LGBT rights and has performed at Pride events. Smyth has also supported organizations working towards ending domestic violence and has performed at events to raise awareness about the issue.
Her philanthropic work and activism demonstrate her commitment to making a positive impact on the world beyond her music career.
Legacy and Future Projects
Smyth’s legacy as a musician and philanthropist continues to inspire future generations, with her recent collaboration with Keith Urban and her upcoming music projects showcasing her enduring impact on the music industry.
As a singer-songwriter, Smyth has been known for her powerful voice and lyrics that often address social and political issues. Her activism and philanthropic work have also been a significant part of her legacy, with her involvement in various organizations and events that promote social justice and equality.
Despite taking a break from the music scene in the early 2000s to focus on her family and philanthropic work, Smyth’s recent collaborations and upcoming projects show that she is still a force to be reckoned with.
Her collaboration with Keith Urban on the song ‘Can’t Stop Loving You’received critical acclaim and showcased her ability to adapt to contemporary styles while still maintaining her signature sound.
With her upcoming album, ‘It’s About Time,’Smyth promises to deliver another collection of songs that blend rock, blues, and soul influences.
Through her music and activism, Smyth’s legacy continues to inspire and empower future generations to make a positive impact on the world.