Musical Notes – Pat Benatar
Voiceover by Lawrence Standifer Stevens
Written by Joseph E. Casanova
Crimes of Passion earned Pat Benatar her first Grammy, but it was her debut, In the Heat of the Night, which showed she rocked as hard as her male counterparts.
Pat Benatar celebrates her 35-year career on the road this summer, accompanied by husband and lifelong guitarist Neil Giraldo.
Back then, Sunday mornings usually meant two things — going to church and listening to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 on KTSA.
But a schoolmate mentioned a weekly countdown show ranking the nation’s top 20 rock tracks. The program aired on the Super Rocker.
She said that’s where she first heard cuts like Tom Petty’s “Refugee” and Led Zeppelin’s “All My Love.”
“Okay. I’ll give it a listen,” I said.
I was blown away when I heard an operatic voice sandwiched between wailing guitars and pounding drums. That voice belonged to Pat Benatar and the song was her first hit, “Heartbreaker.”
The only other woman on the countdown was Linda Rondstadt with “How Do I Make You?” The Wilson sisters hadn’t released BeBe Le Strange yet and punk rock priestess Patti Smith was on musical hiatus.
“Heartbreaker” and the no-holds-barred “No You Don’t” showed the male-dominated world of hard rock how she was ready to kick some ass and take names later.
Benatar’s debut, In the Heat of the Night, included her very first single, which had, unfortunately, failed to chart, but it was written by Blondie producer Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn. . . “If You Think You Know How to Love Me.”
In the Heat of the Night also featured covers of John Cougar’s “I Need a Lover,” Nick Gilder’s “Rated X” and Alan Parsons’ “Don’t Let It Show.”
I later picked up a copy of her Grammy-winning Crimes of Passion LP, which featured the legendary “Hit Me with Your Best Shot.”
At the record store, I heard one guy tell his friend in his best pre-Spiccoli voice, “Dude, this chick can rock as hard as a dude can!”
I smiled and yelled back from the checkout counter. “Dude, you have no freakin’ idea how hard!”