Two weeks before I started college in the Fall of 1981, I went to my second concert of that very August which was Pat Benatar with opening act David Johansen, the former lead singer of the New York Dolls. Personally, I was pumped about seeing both artists, but my buddies weren’t. Anyway, we had four carloads of guys in a caravan going to what ended up being the last general admission concert I attended in the aftermath of the The Who concert tragedy in Cincinnati of 1979. Like I’ve said before, Indiana is a little slow.
Anyway, I let out my guys, and they ran up the ramps to the concert doors while I parked my car. At the point, let me remind you that most of my friends were pretty fast distance runners. This was the last time us college guys were hanging out with the younger high school guys. The main point was we were all members of teams that had been ranked in Indiana’s Top 20 Cross Country teams. And, this caravan had a plan, and the plan was to release those younger guys to get us good seats. And, it worked to perfection that night as we snagged the whole tenth row stage right. All for a bunch of teenage guys to see one of the most beautiful women in rock history. Yep! I said it. We were sexist twerps back then.
That summer, Benatar released her first album to reach number one on Billboard‘s album chart. It was the pinnacle of a whirlwind of quick two-year run to the top. Starting in 1979, Benatar, with major contributions from her guitarist and future husband Neil Giraldo, was one of the biggest rock stars in the world for a good six years. Then, the husband-and-wife team pulled away from the career to begin a life of parenthood. Finally, the pair is being recognized for their contribution to rock music in addition to the ground that Pat broke as one of the first female rockers to become a huge star. And, all of that does not even mention the fact that she was a huge fashion icon in the early-Eighties, as depicted in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
If you remember, I did a profile on Benatar a couple of months ago. But, today, I want to tell everyone that she is my fifth inductee of the RRHOF for 2020. This honor is long overdo. Right now, Benatar leads the Fan Voting and, God willing, she will remain there, even though Dave Matthews Band is making huge strides right now. Today, I would like to honor Benatar with a ranking of her albums.
11. Go (2003)
10. Innamorata (1997)
9. Gravity’s Rainbow (1993)
8. True Love (1991)
7. Wide Awake in Dreamland (1988)
6. Seven the Hard Way (1985)
5. Tropico (1984). This was the album in which Benatar and Giraldo began to move away from the hard rock/punk sound they rode to fame and toward a pop life. Unfortunately, fans started to turn away, missing on the artistic growth the duo was displaying.
4. Get Nervous (1982). In many ways, this album was the final goodbye to the trappings of being a hard rock queen. However, it was a very strong, underrated album of great early-Eighties pop/rock music.
3. Crimes of Passion (1980). This was the album that brought Benatar the mainstream success that all of us who thought she deserved it on the first album. And, “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” quickly became her calling card.
2. In the Heat of the Night (1979). This was a strong opening salvo for her career. Everything about it just screamed Eighties-pop rock from New York City. As we all know, Benatar was more than a Debbie Harry knock-off that producer Mike Chapman was attempting to dress her up as.
1. Precious Time (1981). This was the album in which Benatar turned into the AOR star we all remember. This album was truly a mature statement, and she was rewarded with a number one album.