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Patty Smyth - Rock Singer

Updated on September 14, 2014

Patty Smyth

I have always admired Patty Smyth's style. Married to former tennis great John McEnroe, Patty has been juggling marriage, motherhood and her musical career for years. Through it all, Patty Smyth (the lead singer for the band Scandal) has never wavered away from her tough New York attitude.

Public domain photo courtesy Songdiggers

Patty Smyth

Patty Smyth
Patty Smyth

Smyth and Scandal

Scandal was formed in New York City in 1981 by guitarist Zack Smith, who also wrote most of the band's hits. The other initial members included: bassist Ivan Elias (1950-1995), guitarist Keith Mack, guitarist Jon Bon Jovi (briefly), keyboardist Benjy King, drummer Frankie LaRocka, and vocalist Patty Smyth. Thommy Price later replaced LaRocka on drums.

The band had much success early on but due to struggles within the group and their record company, it slowly dissolved -- losing member after member. By the time "The Warrior" tour hit the road in 1984, all that remained of the original lineup were Smyth and Mack. Scandal broke up shortly after the tour ended. The group (minus Ivan Elias, who died of cancer in June 1995) reunited in 2004 for VH1's Bands Reunited show and did a string of concerts on the United States East Coast culminating in a show at Irving Plaza in their home city (New York) on February 9, 2005. During the summer of 2006, the band (excluding Thommy Price) reunited again for VH1's "We Are The 80's" tour, playing a string of large - mainly outdoor - venues and earning critical acclaim. During the summer and fall of 2007, they toured again (this time without Zack Smith).

In July 2008, Billboard reported the upcoming release of new music by Patty Smyth and Scandal (featuring original members Keith Mack and Benjy King). At a performance in Dewey Beach, DE on August 3, 2008, Smyth indicated Scandal would be releasing a new five song EP in the near future. Scandal also performed one of their new songs, "Trust In Me". Other new titles include "Make It Hard" and "End Of The Girl". Patty Smyth & Scandal debuted their first single as a band ("Make It Hard Not To Love Me") in over 24 years on January 17, 2009 in Ridgefield, CT to a standing ovation. Patty Smyth stated the song will be available to purchase digitally in February 2009, with the new EP to follow shortly.

"The Warrior" Video - #1 Hit on the Mainstream Rock Charts (1984)

Solo Career and Personal Life

Following two solo albums in 1987 and 1992, she secured a further hit record via a duet with Don Henley of The Eagles; "Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough" peaked at number 2 in the Billboard Hot 100, and went gold. Its parent album, Patty Smyth, also went gold and featured an additional Top 40 hit with "No Mistakes", as well as "I Should Be Laughing", a minor hit. She had previously recorded with Henley as a backing singer on several songs on his albums Building The Perfect Beast and The End of the Innocence. Smyth also guest-appeared on The Hooters 1985 album Nervous Night on the song "Where Do the Children Go" as an accompanying vocalist.

She subsequently co-wrote the 1994 song "Look What Love Has Done", nominated for a Grammy and an Academy Award after its inclusion in the soundtrack to the feature film Junior. Further soundtrack commissions resulted in her penning the theme tune, "Wish I Were You", to the 1998 feature film Armageddon. (Smyth's husband, John McEnroe, claims in his autobiography that she was inspired to write the song by his own attempt at a musical career: she was struck by his excitement at playing music, when her feelings about the music industry were far more ambivalent.)

As a result of her renewed popularity, Columbia issued a retrospective album, Greatest Hits - Featuring Scandal. Two new songs were released on the anthology, including "Carnival Lights". The song, co-written with Bob Thiele Jr., concerned her mother Betty Smyth's years as a trapeze artist. Smyth set out to promote the album on an acoustic tour, employing ex-Bullet Lavolta guitarist Duke Roth as her sideman.

In the mid 1980s, Smyth became friends with Valerie Bertinelli and her then husband, Eddie Van Halen. When David Lee Roth left the band Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen invited Smyth to replace Roth as the band's lead singer. Smyth declined the offer.

Smyth dated punk musician Richard Hell for two years; their daughter, Ruby, was born in 1985. In April 1997, Smyth married former tennis star John McEnroe. They presently live in New York City and have six children between them (three from his previous marriage to Tatum O'Neal, one from her previous relationship and two together, daughters Anna and Ava).

"Goodbye To You" - Hit #65 on the Billboard Hot 100 (1982)

Patty Poll

What's Your Favorite Smyth Single?

See results

Are You a Fan of Patty? - Feel free to comment here.

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    • profile image

      julieannbrady 

      6 years ago

      Today I am casting a foursome of great gals to form a folk-rockish style quartet ... and have now completed the slate with Patty Smyth.

    • JK Sterling profile image

      Jim Sterling 

      7 years ago from Franklin, Tennessee

      Patty is fantastic, what a voice. Thanks for this lens.

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