The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
A Decade in the Life
of
Pat Benatar

Born Patricia Andrzejewski in Brooklyn, New York on January  10, 1954, Pat Benatar was raised on Long Island and attended Lindenhurst High School. She married her high school sweetheart, Dennis Benatar, and lived for a while in Richmond, Virginia, where she worked as a waitress and bank clerk. She studied classical singing and briefly attended the Julliard School of Music. In 1975 she appeared in an off-Broadway production of The Zinger. She went on to perform at the New York cabaret To Catch A Rising Star, whose owner, Rick Newman, became her manager. She eventually signed with Chrysalis Records, keeping her first husband's name even though they were divorced. In the summer of 1977 she recruited a backing band that consisted of ex-Derringer guitarist Neil Giraldo, guitarist Scott St. Clair Sheets, bass player Roger Capps, and drummer Glen Alexander Hamilton. Her debut album, In The Heat Of The Night, was recorded at MCA's Whitney Studios (California) and released in 1979...


March 1980
Benatar's debut album, In The Heat Of The Night, peaks at US#12. Its two singles, "Heartbreaker" and "We Live For Love" make it into the Top 40 (#23 and #27 respectively.)
December 1980
"Hit Me With You Best Shot," off the Crimes Of Passion album,  reaches US#9.
February 1981
At the 23rd Annual Grammy Awards, Benatar wins Best Rock Vocal Performance (Female) for Crimes Of Passion, which had peaked at US#2 the previous month. The album spends nine months in the Top 40.
August 1981
Precious Time climbs to UK#30, marking Benatar's chart debut in the UK, and tops the US album chart for one week. The single "Fire And Ice" tops off at US#17 the following month.
January 1982
Benatar wins the Favorite Female Artist (Pop/Rock) category at the 9th American Music Awards.
February 1982
Benatar marries her guitarist/producer Neil Giraldo on Maui, Hawaii. A few days later she takes home a Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance (Female) for "Fire And Ice."
December 1982
"Shadows Of The Night," from the Get Nervous album, reaches US#13. Her performance on this single will garner her yet another Grammy. The album will hit US#4 a few weeks later.
October 1983
Live From Earth, recorded during Benatar's tour of the United States and Europe during 1982 and 1983, is released and will be certified platinum by the RIAA two months later, peaking at US#13.
December 1983
"Love Is A Battlefield" soars to US#5. It will win Benatar her fourth Best Rock Vocal Performance (Female) Grammy in a row.
January 1984
Benatar wins Favorite Female Artist (Pop/Rock) at the American Music Awards for the second time.
November 1984
The RIAA certifies that Crimes Of Passion has sold four million units while Precious Time has sold two million.
January 1985
"We Belong" peaks at US#5. Its parent album, Tropico, climbs to US #14. The album will be certified platinum one month later.
September 1985
"Invincible" -- the theme from the film The Legend of Billie Jean -- hits US#10.
December 1985
Seven The Hard Way makes it to US#26 and UK#69.
November 1987
A compilation of Benatar's hits, entitled Best Shots, reaches UK#6. It will be 1989 before the album peaks on the US chart, at #67.
July 1988
Wide Awake In Dreamland climbs to UK#11 and US#28. It is Benatar's first album of new material in more than two years -- during which time she has given birth to a daughter, Haley.


Crimes of Passion (Chrysalis, 1980)
Treat Me Right
You Better Run
Never Wanna Leave You
Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Hell Is For Children
Little Paradise
I'm Gonna Follow You
Wuthering Heights
Prisoner Of Love
Out-A-Touch

"Benatar has a lovely operatic soprano . . . but she uses it mainly to emulate the sound of ripping metal while her band bulldozes the beat into wreckage."
Rolling Stone
"Career rock you could call it . . . . She will sing in the rock idiom until she's old enough to do cabaret in Vegas. She does it very correctly, making all the right noises and the production is pristine."
Sounds

Precious Time (Chrysalis, 1981)
Promises In The Dark
Fire And Ice
Just Like Me
Precious Time
It's A Tuff Life
Take It Anyway You Want It
Evil Genius
Hard To Believe
Helter Skelter

"Run-of-the-mill US rock . . . . solid stodge all the way."
New Musical Express

Get Nervous (Chrysalis, 1982)
Shadows Of The Night
Looking For A Stranger
Anxiety (Get Nervous)
Fight It Out
The Victim
Little Too Late
I'll Do It
I Want Out
Tell It To Her.
Silent Partner

"There's an underlying savagery that keeps its feet firmly anchored in stack-heeled, stadia-rock spaceboots."
Sounds

Live From Earth (Chrysalis, 1983)
Fire And Ice
Looking For A Stranger
I Want Out
We Live For Love
Hell Is For Children
Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Promises In The Dark
Heartbreaker
Love Is A Battlefield
Lipstick Lies

"[A] poorly recorded, poorly played and, above all, poorly sung live album that sacrifices her lovely, potent voice at the altar of hard-rock bombast. Some of it's downright embarrassing. Benatar takes her strutting, screaming Joplinesque-rocker role to silly extremes."
Rolling Stone

Tropico (Chrysalis, 1984)
Diamond Field
We Belong
Painted Desert
Temporary Heroes
Love In The Ice Age
Ooh Ooh Song
Outlaw Blues
Suburban King
Takin' It Back

"Search for a searing rocker . . . on Pat Benatar's new album, and you search in vain. Coproducers Neil Geraldo and Peter Coleman have discarded the guitar-heavy thrash that was so successful in turning Benatar from just another cabaret canary into a top-flight rock & roll performer."
Rolling Stone

Seven The Hard Way (Chrysalis, 1985)
Sex As A Weapon
Le Bel Age
Walking In The Underground
Big Life
Red Vision
7 Rooms Of Gloom
Run Between The Raindrops
Invincible (Theme from The Legend of Billie Jean)
The Art of Letting Go

"Using her fiery multi-octave range to project just the right mixture of man-chewing, no-nonsense and tough-girl vulnerability, the divine denim-clad gamine howls indomitably. Through love's terror-filled jungles using the best weapons in her arsenal: faith, grit and vocal chops that hit every impossibly cathartic high note."
Rolling Stone

Wide Awake In Dreamland (Chrysalis, 1988)
All Fired Up
One Love
Let's Stay Together
Don't Walk Away
Too Long A Soldier
Cool Zero
Cerebral Man
Lift 'Em On Up
Suffer The Little Children
Wide Awake In Dreamland

"Pat Benatar's voice keeps getting stronger, and guitarist-producer Neil Geraldo's ideas and riffs keep getting sharper, but only to a point. Wide Awake In Dreamland, Benatar's first album after a long layoff, is full of wry energy, yet it seems stunted, the production is far better than the songwriting."
Rolling Stone

Best Shots (Chrysalis, 1989)
Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Love Is A Battlefield.
Promises In The Dark
One Love
All Fired Up
We Belong
We Live For Love
Invincible
Shadows Of The Night
Heartbreaker
Fire And Ice
Suffer The Little Children/Hell Is For Children
Painted Desert
Outlaw Blues


Benatar's "You Better Run" video was the second clip aired by MTV when that network debuted on August 1, 1981.

The "Love Is A Battlefield" video was the first to include spoken dialogue and was directed by Bob Giraldi, who would go on to win several awards for Michael Jackson's "Beat It" video.

The video for Benatar's "Sex As A Weapon" was nominated for seven MTV Video Music Awards, including Best Direction, Best Choreography and Best Editing.  (It didn't win in any category.)

Benatar continued to tour until 1993, when she gave birth to a second daughter, Hana. She turned to songwriting, and ended her long relationship with Chrysalis Records.