Pat Benatar Biography

Patricia Andrzejewski, 10 January 1953, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. After training as an opera singer, Pat Benatar became a major hitmaker in the early 80s, adept at both mainstream rock and powerful ballads, often focusing on personal relationships and sexual politics. She married Dennis Benatar after graduating from high school and relocated to Virginia. By the 70s she had returned to New York, where she was discovered by Rick Newman in 1979 at the latter’s Catch A Rising Star club. With Newman as manager, she signed to Chrysalis Records that year and released her debut album, In The Heat Of The Night, produced by Mike Chapman, which became a substantial hit and spawned three US chart singles. Benatar (who retained the name after divorcing) released her second album, Crimes Of Passion, in 1980. This collection, which later won a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, rose to number 2 in the US charts, while the hard rocking ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ became her first Billboard Top 10 single. Precious Time was released in 1981 and this time reached number 1 in the USA. Although no Top 10 singles resulted, Benatar won another Grammy for ‘Fire And Ice’.

In February 1982 Benatar married producer Neil Giraldo (b. 29 December 1955, Cleveland, Ohio, USA), who played guitar in her band and wrote most of her material, and released Get Nervous, which reached US number 4. The following year, a live album, also featuring two new studio tracks, was released. One of these tracks, ‘Love Is A Battlefield’, reached number 5 in the USA, the same position attained in 1984 by ‘We Belong’, from the next album, Tropico. The former single eventually became a UK Top 20 hit in 1985, reissued in the wake of the British success of ‘We Belong’, after initially stalling a year earlier at number 49. Also in 1985, ‘Invincible’, from the movie Legend Of Billie Jean, was Benatar’s last US Top 10 single of the decade. An album, Seven The Hard Way, followed later that year but signalled a decline in Benatar’s popularity.

Musical inactivity marked the next couple of years as Benatar devoted her attentions to motherhood (her daughter Haley had been born in 1985). A compilation album, Best Shots, was released in 1987. Although moderately successful in her homeland, it became a major hit in Europe, putting her into the UK Top 10 album chart for the first time. The blues-influenced True Love, recorded with Roomful Of Blues, was a commercial and critical disaster, and subsequent albums saw Benatar struggling to regain lost sales. She returned to the live circuit in the mid-90s, with Giraldo by her side, while also launching a low-key acting career in television. Benatar’s 2003 studio release Go was heralded as her best album since her mid-80s peak.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.