Those who have listened to Patty Smyth – live or over the radio – are immediately struck by the distinctiveness of her voice. For several decades, she has entertained listeners and become an icon along the way. As someone who forged her reputation as lead singer for a music band before embarking on a journey as a solo artist, her musical career is not short of drama.
In addition to her professional career, she has also had an interesting personal life, having been married twice to very famous people. The second marriage continues to wax strong, and so does Patty Smyth. It is always important to look back on how things began for certain icons and how they became who they are today.
She Gained National Prominence with the Band Scandal
Patty Smyth grew up in Gerritsen Beach, a neighborhood of Brooklyn, and nursed singing ambitions. At the age of 24, she joined the newly formed New York City band Scandal as the lead singer. The band began with guitarist, Zack Smith in 1981 and featured four other members aside Smyth. These members include; Ivan Elias, Benjy King, Keith Mack, and Frankie LaRocka.
A year after their formation, the band released a five-track, self-titled EP, and it became Columbia Records’ biggest-selling EP for the year. The track, Goodbye to You, spearheaded the EP. The song reached no. 5 on Billboard’s Album Rock chart and also peaked at no. 65 on Billboard hot 100.
It meant the band experienced success with the release of their first project which launched them into the consciousness of the nation. Scandal was certified gold by the RIAA after selling 500,000 copies.
Patty Smyth’s Success with the Band Did Not Last Before They Separated
They duly followed up this success with the release of their debut album Warrior in 1984. Warrior achieved even more success than Scandal. The album peaked at no. 17 on the Billboard 200 chart, thanks to significant airplay of The Warrior, a single from the album, by MTV.
The Warrior proved to be the band’s biggest song as it attained reached no. 1 spot in Canada and a very impressive no. 7 place in the US. It reached no. 1 on the US Rock Top Tracks chart and won a BMI Airplay Award in 1984. Warrior, the album, was eventually certified platinum by the RIAA.
Despite achieving a lot of success as a group, things were not going well for them off stage. Numerous internal conflicts and band problems led to members departing one after another. Only Smyth and Mack remained from the original lineup by the time the band started a tour for The Warrior. The band officially separated in 1985 shortly after the conclusion of their tour.
She Turned Down the Chance to Join Another Band as Lead Singer
Patty Smyth got the chance to join another band shortly after Scandal was disbanded. Her friend, Eddie Van Halen, offered her the chance to replace David Lee Roth as the lead singer of his band Van Halen. She turned down the opportunity for various reasons, with the most prominent one being that she was eight months pregnant at the time.
Other reasons include the unwillingness to relocate from New York to Los Angeles. She was also skeptical about the band members’ perpetual drunkenness and constant fights. She decided to take some time away, deliver her child, and then pursue a new career as a solo artist with no attachment to a band.
Patty Smyth Released Her First Solo Album in 1987
Patty Smyth followed up her new resolve to pursue a solo career by featuring as an accompanying vocalist on Where Do the Children Go, a single off The Hooters 1985 album, Nervous Night. She began working on releasing her debut solo album, and Never Enough arrived in 1987.
Released under Columbia Records, the album was initially meant for Scandal. Never Enough was produced by Rick Chetoff and William Wittman and birthed three singles; Downtown Train, Isn’t It Enough, and Never Enough.
Interestingly, Patty Smyth only co-wrote two tracks on the album despite going on to enjoy some success as a songwriter later in the future. The album peaked at no. 66 on the charts in the US.
Her Second Solo Album Contained Her First Major Hit as a Solo Artist
Patty Smyth released her second solo album, Patty Smyth, in 1992, and it enjoyed a bigger reception compared to her debut. Her single, Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough, a duet she recorded with Don Henley of the Eagles, mostly inspired this.
The track was a major hit and reached a peak position of no. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Both the song and the album were certified gold for sales of 500,000 each. The album also featured another top 40 hit with No Mistakes.
Unlike her debut album, where she had minor songwriting credits, Smyth featured heavily as a writer on her second album. She co-wrote seven of the ten songs and had grown in strength as a competent songwriter.
She Earned Major Award Nominations for her Songwriting Contributions
As her career progressed, Patty Smyth began to take on more songwriting gigs. Her efforts as a songwriter eventually got rewarded when she co-wrote Look What Love Has Done in 1994. The song was in the soundtrack compilation for the movie Junior.
As a result, it earned Grammy and Oscar nominations in 1995. As further evidence that her stock as a songwriter had risen, she received the contract to write and compose the theme track Wish I Were You for the 1998 movie Armageddon.
She released her third album, Come on December, on the 20th of November, 2015. She spearheaded a crowdfunding project to support the headstrong project with all the money garnered from the pre-order of her album going to the nonprofit organization.
Smyth Reunited with Her First Band Scandal in 2004
Patty Smyth was involved in an unlikely reunion with her former band Scandal in 2004 when VH1 recruited Smyth and other surviving members of the band for the Bands Reunited episode. As a result, the group embarked on a small reunion tour with concerts on the East Coast.
They reunited again in 2006 for another VH1 event called We are the 80s tour and performed at large venues outdoor. Their performances earned acclaim from critics. In 2007, they went on another tour, this time without Zack Smith.
Scandal were supposedly planning the release of an EP in 2008. As of 2020, though, their only new song has been a cover of the popular Christmas song Silent Night.
Patty Smyth Has Gotten Rich Through Real Estate Ventures
Patty Smyth has enjoyed a successful musical career. With charting albums both as a solo artist and as a member of Scandal, Smyth is unsurprisingly well off. She has a combined net worth of a staggering $100 million with her husband, John McEnroe. Although Smyth has had a successful music career, it is certainly not solely responsible for her huge net worth.
Smyth and her husband own multiple valuable homes in Malibu. In 2015, they shelled out $21 million to purchase a home with an oceanfront in Paradise Cove, an ultra-exclusive zone in Malibu. Smyth and her husband reportedly own at least $50 million worth of real estate in Los Angeles.
Smyth Has Been Married Twice and Has Three Daughters
We do not know much about Smyth’s first marriage to Richard Hell, who is a singer, songwriter, and bass guitarist. We do know that they were married for two years and separated in 1986. The marriage produced a daughter, Ruby, in 1985.
She met her current husband, former tennis star and icon John McEnroe at a Christmas party in 1993. A mutual friend of theirs had wanted to set them up earlier but forgot. McEnroe sought to ask Smyth out on a date, but she was leaving town the next day.
McEnroe had separated from his first wife by that time, and their first date happened a year later. In 1995, Smyth and McEnroe welcomed their first child, daughter Anna. The couple tied the knots in 1997 and welcomed their second daughter, Ava, in the year 2000.
McEnroe had three kids – Kevin, Sean, and Emily, from his previous marriage, and Smyth became their stepmother. McEnroe and Smyth remain together and currently live in a duplex in Manhattan.