It is clear from the beginning that Patricia Mae Andrzejewski, as Pat Benatar, will pursue her love of music. Four Grammy wins, albums, and decades of touring later, it’s safe to say that Pat is successful in her life.
In her autobiography, Between a Heart and a Rock Place, Benatar reveals that it isn’t to become a solo artist. Her original dream is to be the lead singer of a rock band. Robert Plant is to Led Zeppelin or Van Morrison is to the Doors.
She yearned to form a musical partnership like the one that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had. Benatar is in a band that is rowdy, with heavy guitars leading everything. She trains singers and possesses a great deal of musical knowledge, but no clue how to make that in reality.
Benatar had to learn to believe in her own dreams. At first, she doubted herself. When she is young and studying so that she can go to Julliard, there’s this one point where she panics. While everyone around her tells her how great of a singer she is, she can’t see her future career. She abandons her dreams and instead pursues a career in education but she didn’t give up so easily.
She’s Remarkably Self-Confident
Pat Benatar was born on January 10, 1953, in Brooklyn, New York City. Her mother was a beautician and her father was a sheet-metal worker. Her hardworking family eventually moved to Lindenhurst, New York which is located in Suffolk County on Long Island.
When she was 8 years old, she discovered that she was quite passionate about theater and music. She then started taking voice lessons and performed her first solo at Daniel Street Elementary School. From that point onward she dedicates to her craft. Musical theater became an important part of her story while she attended Lindenhurst Senior High School. Her most notable credit while there was playing Queen Guinevere in the school production of the musical Camelot.
The doubts that she later would express while preparing to go to Julliard had very little to do with insecurity. In all actuality, Benatar knew she was good enough to succeed. She had full confidence in her ability but she questioned the likelihood of that actually happening. The numbers frankly didn’t look like they were in her favor. But instead of letting these doubts consume her, she did what she’s been historically quite good at. Putting one foot in front of the other and pressing on. It’s this tenacity coupled with her confidence that makes her stand out in such a competitive, dog-eat-dog, industry.
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She Worked As A Bank Teller To Make Ends Meet
Although Pat at one point sets her heart on attending Julliard, she elects to study education at Stony Brook University. Unsurprisingly, that didn’t pan out. She drops out of college and marries her High School boyfriend Dennis Benatar, who enlists in the U.S. Army.
In 1973, the couple moved to Richmond, Virginia where Pat got a day job working as a bank teller. She quits so that she can invest her time and energy in chasing her dream of becoming a singer. Around that time, she found a gig with a lounge band named Coxon’s Army.
Things start picking up steam when Pat, whose marriage to Dennis falls apart. They divorced by the end of the decade. And decides in 1975 that she wants to move to New York City to be successful in the music industry.
One night in 1975, Benatar decides to sing in an open mic night at a comedy club in the upper east side of Manhattan called Catch a Rising Star. She is number 27 in line and didn’t get a chance to go out on stage until 2 am. After singing Judy Garland’s ‘Rock a Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody’, the crowd goes wild.
Hearing the room erupt in applause, Rick Newman, the owner of the club, rushes out. He wants to see who is inspiring such an enthusiastic response with the audience. He sits around and watches the performance and when she finishes, Newman approaches Benatar and asks who she is.
Newman soon became Benatar’s manager and they continued their working relationship for the next 15 years.
Benatar Sure Did Love Spandex
In 1976, Benatar acts, playing the role of Zephyr in Harry Chapin’s futuristic off-Broadway rock musical The Zinger. In 1977 on Halloween, Benatar dresses up as a character from the sci-fi cult film Cat Women of the Moon. And go out with a few friends to Cafe Figaro in Greenwich Village.
The club was putting on a costume contest so Benatar decided to enter it. What did she have to lose?
After winning the said contest, she and her friends stopped by Catch a Rising Star where she ended up performing in her costume. The audience absolutely loved her get-up and gave her a standing ovation.
Realizing that wearing spandex garnered quite the response, Pat did the same thing again the following evening and received a very similar reaction. As time goes on, the outfits are modified a bit – the spandex tweaks, and just like that, the signature looks that everyone knows and loves comes.
In 1978, not only was Pat Benatar regularly performing in the New York club scene but she was recording jingles for Pepsi as well. After headlining at New York City’s Tramps nightclub, Benatar discovers and signs a recording contract by Terry Ellis of Chrysalis records.
Writer and producer Mike Chapman introduced her to guitarist Neil Giraldo and they ended up having tremendous chemistry – first as fellow musicians and later as husband and wife. Benator and Giraldo ties the knot in 1982 and are still together today after all of these years. The couple eventually had two children together.
Pat Benatar’s Impressive Discography
Benator released her first album, In the Heat of the Night, in 1979. She followed that up with 1980s Crimes of Passion, 1981s Precious Time, 1982s Live from Earth, 1984s Tropico, 1985s Seven the Hard Way, 1988s Awake In Dreamland, 1991s True Love, 1993s Gravity’s Rainbow, 1997s Innamorata, and 2003s Go.
Those albums produced hit singles like ‘Hearbreaker’, ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’, ‘Love is a Battlefield’, ‘Fire and Ice’, ‘Sex as a Weapon’, and many others. Her most recent single was 2020s ‘Together’.
In between recording and promoting all of those albums, Benatar has toured extensively. Her first tour was back in 1979 and 1980 for her In The Heat of the Night and Crimes of Passion albums. She continued to regularly tour throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Benatar would often appear alongside other artists such as Fleetwood Mac, REO Speedwagon, Cheap Trick, Journey, and Cher – just to name a few. In 2019, she set out on her 40th Anniversary Tour proving that she still had it in her even after all these years.
‘You Better Run’ Is The 2nd Video Ever Aired On MTV
On August 1, 1981, the music video for Pat Benatar’s song ‘You Better Run’ is the second video to be broadcast on MTV. The first song is famously ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ by The Buggles.
Benatar’s video was fantastically simple. It featured her and her band in what looked like an industrial warehouse while playing the song and jamming out to it.
There is one detail from that video that stood out, however. Benatar rocked her signature black spandex pants thus introducing the look to the masses. Since its initial airing in 1981, the music video for ‘You Better Run’ has racked up more than two million views and 14 thousand likes on YouTube.
Timing Is Key
Pat Benatar believes strongly that her success was largely due to the timing of her arrival on the music scene. Back when she first started making waves in the music industry in the late 70s, the women’s movement was going strong. Benatar and her fellow female stars were the first generations of women who grew up indoctrinated with that idealogy. Now that they were adults, they were going to put what they learned into practice.
From her perspective, women were the same as men. In some ways, she even suspected that they might be even superior. So, she set out into the world with that in mind. She wanted to prove that women were just as capable as men were at pretty much anything.
But when she would tell people what she wanted to accomplish, they would look at her as if she had two heads or something while saying cringey things like ‘women can’t be on the road’ or ‘women can’t sell out Madison Square Garden. When they tell her stuff like that, it didn’t even occur to her that what she envisions can’t be done. So without fear, she pressed on and successfully managed to prove all of the naysayers wrong.
Flash forward 40 years later to today, Benatar can look back at her career complete with of its successes and failures and no doubt feel incredibly accomplished. Not only has she experienced professional success, but she’s also maintained a marriage that has stood the test of time which is a rare feat in itself. She’s also been blessed with two incredible children who mean more to her than practically anything else.
At this point, she really has nothing left to prove. There’s no fighting, holding on for dear life trying to capture some sort of fleeting feeling that has long since faded. She’s achieved everything that she set out to find. She’s been a singer, lover, businesswoman, daughter, friend, wife, and mother – and she’s most definitely earned the right to feel proud about all of that.
Her Music Is Ubiquitous
Benatar’s music has been featured in everything from video games, movies, television shows, and commercials. ‘Love is a Battlefield’ can be heard on South Park as well as in the romantic comedy flick 13 Going on 30.
The song was also included in the soundtrack for the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories. Benatar’s song ‘Heartbreaker’ was featured in an episode of Charmed in which Benatar and Giraldo also made cameo appearances.
And since her songs have been included in popular music-oriented video games such as Rock Band and Guitar Hero, Pat Benatar’s music is now being introduced to an entirely new generation of music lovers.
Pat Benatar is widely regarded as the leading female rock vocalist of the 1980s, but even decades later she’s still going strong with no signs of slowing down. While she hasn’t been on tour since 2019 and hasn’t put out a new album in quite some time, it’s still pretty safe to say that we haven’t seen the last of her.
Anyway, we’re just about out of time for this video, but before you go, let us know in the comments section which Pat Benatar song you like the best.
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