Celebrate Natalie Merchant's Birthday With 5 of Our Favorite Tracks

Nicky J. Sims/Redferns
Natalie Merchant performs in 1998. 

Among covers that undeniably did justice to the original recording is 10,000 Maniacs’ version of "Because the Night" with singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant. The song, written by Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen, was first released by Smith in 1978.

Merchant left the maniacs behind in 1993 to begin a solo career, and in 2015 she released her seventh studio album along with a companion DVD documentary. The memoir-style film contains live performances, archival footage and interviews with musicians, friends and fans about the influence her 1995 album Tigerlily has had over the past 20+ years.

In honor of her birthday (October 26), we're revisiting 5 of our favorite songs from early in her career.

1. “Because The Night” from MTV Unplugged (1993)

"Love is a banquet on which we feed."

The piano intro, finale and Merchant’s powerful vocals stay with you long after the song has ended. The 10,000 Maniacs song peaked at No. 11 on the Hot 100 chart.

2. “Carnival” (1995)

“Have I been hypnotized, mesmerized, by what my eyes have found.”

A black and white video serves as backdrop to the lead single off Merchant’s debut solo album, Tigerlily. The song peaked at No. 10 on the Hot 100 chart.

3. “These Are Days” (1992)

“These are the days you might fill with laughter until you break.”

In the video, Merchant demonstrates her non-existent fear of heights as she sings out to the world her anthem about being blessed and lucky. The song peaked at No. 1 on the Alternative Songs chart.

4. “Noah’s Dove” from MTV Unplugged (1993)

“In your reckless mind, you act as if you've got more lives.”

A deep cut from Our Time in Eden.

5. “Candy Everybody Wants” (1992)

“Who do you want to blame?"

The 10,000 Maniacs song peaked at No. 67 on the Hot 100 chart and No. 5 on the Alternative Songs chart.