Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough

Album: Patty Smyth (1992)
Charted: 22 2


  • Former Scandal lead singer Patty Smyth wrote this song with Glen Burtnik, who at the time was a member of Styx. They were writing another song together on Glen's birthday when someone came in with a birthday cake. In our interview with Glen Burtnik, he told us what happened next: "I picked up the guitar and started making something up, playing kind of absent-mindedly in between forkfulls as we spoke. Patty asked what it was and said she liked it. This was the impetus for the start of the song. We began batting around melodic and lyrical ideas. When we got to a certain point, I put down the guitar and went over to the piano (as I usually do when I feel like I need more musical choices). I came up with a second section, which led to me stealing a melody from a song I had written as a teenager and tried combining that with the scratch verse ideas we had been tossing around. Patty took the music home on a cassette tape (remember those? Unlike DAT tapes, they STILL work!). To be honest, I have to give credit to Patty, who did the lion's share of the lyrics. She bounced ideas off me, I contributed a little, but she wrote the story. For me, the inspiration is either a melody or a title. In this case the title came later, and I wasn't sure a negative idea like 'love ain't enough' was a good idea for a single. Goes to show what I know..."
  • Many songs are about love, but this one takes a melancholy look at what happens when love isn't enough to keep a couple together. Recorded as a duet, we get both sides of the story, as Henley and Smyth sing about how the best thing for their relationship is for it to end.
  • How did Don Henley end up singing on this? She had worked with him on his albums Building The Perfect Beast and The End of the Innocence - her singing is most obvious in the song "Sunset Grill." She played him a demo version of the song that she recorded with Burtnik, and Henley loved it. Glen explained: "There was the harmony part I was singing with Patty which he learned and sang beautifully when he agreed to appear on her record. I feel forever indebted to Don Henley for his appearing on her recording. He was at the peak of his solo years and I believe it drew attention to the song which might not have happened otherwise."
  • Smyth's group Scandal was signed to Columbia Records, and she recorded the first version of the song for Columbia with Henley singing his part and her friend Eddie Van Halen on guitar. Columbia didn't like the song and didn't release it, so Patty took it to MCA records, where it became a hit in Van Halenless form.

Comments: 3

  • David from DavaoHer solo version on this song is way much better than this. I can't find it anywhere online...
  • Shandroise De Laeken from Davao City, PhilippinesI also thought this song was from 1980's as it sounds so 80's! And this has been released a year before I was born. Great.
    I wonder why no one among songfacts members ever liked this one.
    I made this and my comment below August 12, 2015.
  • Shandroise De Laeken from Davao City, PhilippinesWhat??!! None commented yet on this song?? It's one of the best duet songs ever recorded! The voices of Patty and Don complement each other melodiously! The lyrics sting the heart of those who can relate to it. It is one of the most still famous 90's songs here in my country. It's a classic here. Frequently played. In other countries, are your radio disc jockeys crazy?? They're totally missing one beautiful song! Plus, Patty's last line "Maybe sometimes lo-ve~" especially how "love" was sang, is awesome!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Zac HansonSongwriter Interviews

Zac tells the story of Hanson's massive hit "MMMbop," and talks about how brotherly bonds effect their music.

Songs About MoviesSong Writing

Iron Maiden, Adele, Toto, Eminem and Earth, Wind & Fire are just some of the artists with songs directly inspired by movies - and not always good ones.

70s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

The '70s gave us Muppets, disco and Van Halen, all which show up in this groovy quiz.

"Stairway To Heaven" Lawsuit: A TimelineSong Writing

Untangling the events that led to the "Stairway To Heaven" lawsuit.

Jon Oliva of Trans-Siberian OrchestraSongwriter Interviews

Writing great prog metal isn't easy, especially when it's for 60 musicians.

Gary Louris of The JayhawksSongwriter Interviews

The Jayhawks' song "Big Star" has special meaning to Gary, who explains how longevity and inspiration have trumped adulation.