Dave’s Discoveries Pt. 10 – Patty Smyth – “Whole Lotta Love” (Yes, the Led Zeppelin song)


Ordinarily, a Grammy and Oscar-nominated multi-millionaire would not feature on this blog, but this is all about artists who are not as well known as they should be. Such is the case with Patty Smyth.
Prior to yesterday, I’d only ever heard Patty Smyth sing one song, the 1992 rock duet with Don Henley ‘Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough’. It was a big hit when I was a teenager, but back then I was listening to Iron Maiden and Metallica, so it just passed me by as another 90’s rock ballad. What that song fails to show is that Patty Smyth is simply one of the greatest rock singers ever. Just watch this extraordinary 1987 performance of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”, played with Paul Schaefer’s band on the David Letterman Show.

How many singers deliver with such commitment and power? No surprise really that Van Halen wanted Patty Smyth as their lead singer when David Lee Roth left the band in 1985. Smyth declined the offer and went her own way. She has had some great successes, but her two Grammy and Oscar nominated songs are middle of the road ballads that are not characteristic of most of her output.
Smyth started out as lead singer of a 1980’s American rock band called Scandal, who had big success in the USA with their self-titled 1982 E.P. and their only album Warrior (1984). Their US success did not transfer to Europe, so I did not hear any of their music growing up in the 1980’s.
I have a soft spot for 80’s rock music when it is delivered well and over the past day I’ve enjoyed practically anything I’ve heard Smyth lending her incredible voice to. She’s also a dynamic performer who clearly enjoys being on stage or in front of the MTV video camera.

Three last observations –

1. In the video for the US Top 10 hit The Warriors she looks uncannily like a young Bjork, and sings with the same passion, albeit very different music.
2. She married John McEnroe in 1997, they’re still together & occasionally McEnroe plays guitar with her. Seriously!
3. She just released her first album of original material in 28 years. She’s 63 and still sounds great!
All hail Patty Smyth, a most underrated rock n’roll queen!