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Artist Spotlight
Decades Later, Patty Smyth Still an ‘80s Warrior

By Steve Spears

When Patty Smyth & Scandal step on board the Explorer of the Seas next March for the 2020 voyage of The 80s Cruise, the singer/songwriter will be bringing along a career full of hits that surpasses our beloved decade.

“Goodbye To You” and “The Warrior” will be the heart-pounding, foot-stomping anthems that cruise guests will jump to their feet to savor, but Patty enjoyed continued chart success after Scandal parted ways in the late 80s. In fact, two of her best-known duets — “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough” with Don Henley and “Look What Love Has Done” with James Ingram — dazzled fans in the early 90s.

Yet, despite the early success, Patty has gone on the record with her frustration over the zig-zagging success of her music. In a 2018 interview with Crypticrock.com, she explained the ups and downs of her band career vs. her solo work.

“I went out on the road when ‘Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough’ was a big hit and I sang ‘Goodbye to You.’ I saw people in the audience didn’t know that I am the same person … and that was startling to me.”

“Even with ‘The Warrior,’ I was unrecognizable because I had so much crap on my face and all these crazy costumes.”

On The 80s Cruise, expect Patty and her bandmates to leave the makeup and costumes behind and to instead bring an eclectic mix of rock, pop and ballads to the stage. And while you brush up on her music before we set sail, here are three more things you probably didn’t know about Patty Smyth and Scandal.

  • A MEMORABLE CAMEO: It’s sometimes reported that Scandal once featured Jon Bon Jovi on guitar in the early 80s. That’s not exactly true, according to Patty. Jon, however, does appear as the guitar player in the Scandal video “Lyin’ On You” because the band didn’t have a guitarist at the time.
  • EDDIE CAME KNOCKING: Patty was almost the lead singer for Van Halen following the departure of David Lee Roth. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen formally asked Patty to take the job, but she declined — in part because she was 8 months pregnant but also because she heard the band members were fighting at the time.
  • FAMOUS HUSBANDS: Many fans know that Patty has been married to tennis legend John McEnroe since 1997. But she also was briefly married to punk icon Richard Hell in the mid ’80s. For his part, McEnroe has told interviewers that Patty has given him a “second lease on life and doesn’t get thanked for it enough.”
(Steve Spears is the creator and co-host of the award-winning Stuck in the ’80s podcast. He and co-host Brad Williams host Big ’80s Trivia on board The 80s Cruise. Listen to their podcast for free on iTunes or your favorite podcast app.)