Pat Benatar is an American rock and pop singer whose operatic voice brought many hits include “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”, “Love Is A Battlefield”, “We Belong” and Invincible, all of which became Top 10 hits during the 80s music era.
Her first album In The Heat Of The Night, was released in 1979 to good reviews and peaked at #12 on the Billboard 200 album chart. It yielded a Top 40 single “Heartbreaker”. Her singing career got better when her second LP Crimes Of Passion went to #2 on the album chart, spawning singles such as two Top 40 hits “Treat Me Right” and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” which peaked at #9. Crimes Of Passion went to quadruple platinum Her third LP, 1981’s Precious Time was the most successful on the charts to date, topping the Billboard 200. 1982’s Get Nervous LP came out also strong on the album chart at #4, with the highest-charting single “Shadows Of The Night”.
She continued to release gold- and platinum-certified records throughout the 1980s, and still forged ahead with her singing career up to now. Benatar’s last studio album was 2003’s Go. She has also released 25 compilation albums, including early recordings from her Coxon’s Army days. Benatar is also a Grammy winner, having won four consecutive awards for the same category (Best Female Rock Performance from 1980 to 1983) — a rare feat which has never happened before or since. She’s still actively performing, going on tours along with her husband, guitarist Neil Giraldo.
Early days as an up-and-coming singer
Pat Benatar was born Patricia Mae Andrzejewski in Brooklyn, New York, on January 10, 1953. She is of Polish and Irish parentage. The family moved to nearby Lindehurst, New York. Benatar was classically trained, and sang for the musical theater. She has a mezzo-soprano voice.
Benatar then worked as a singing waitress and as a lounge singer at local clubs The Roaring Twenties and Coxon’s Army. She became a member of Catch a Rising Star, a chain of comedy clubs in New York where she would become a regular and got her first big break landing important roles.
Breakthrough success in the mainstream circuit
Benatar now had a formidable group of talented backup musicians which included guitarist and producer Neil Giraldo, whom she would later marry. Benatar eventually signed with Chrysalis Records and released her debut album In the Heat of the Nightin 1979. The album featured hit singles “Heartbreaker” (#23 pop) and “We Live For Love” (#27).
But the second album Crimes of Passion (1980) outperformed her debut album and firmly established Benatar as a star in the arena rock/classic rock vein. It went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, sold over four million copies, and went multi-platinum. The album’s singles “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” (#9 pop) and “Treat Me Right” (#18 pop) helped the album to its stellar success.
A million-selling artist, Grammy winner, and an MTV darling
Benatar’s third LP Precious Time became her first and only #1 hit. It sold over two million copies in the US, thus going double platinum. The success of the album rested on its two Top 20 hits “Fire and Ice” and “Shadows of the Night.”
During MTV’s early days, she was immensely popular, as her videos were played in frequent rotation. In fact, you could say that she was well-loved by the pioneer music video channel. Benatar continued in her success in the 1980s, releasing subsequent albums, all of which went gold and some even platinum: Get Nervous (1982), Live from Earth (1983), Tropico (1984), Seven the Hard Way (1985) and Wide Awake in Dreamland (1988). She achieved three other Top Ten pop hits “Love Is A Battlefield” (#5 pop, #1 rock), “We Belong” (#5 pop, #3 rock), and “Invincible” (#10 pop, #4 rock).
In an unprecedented achievement, Benatar won four consecutive Grammy Awards in the category of Best Female Rock Performance for her album Crimes Of Passion in 1980 and singles “Fire and Ice” (1981), “Shadows of the Night” (1982) and “Love Is a Battlefield” (1983).
Benatar in recent years
When her hits seemed to have run out, Benatar thought of shifting gears and so came out with a jump blues-flavored album True Love in 1991. It became a relative failure on the charts. Seeing this didn’t work, Benatar returned to her old rock form with her ninth studio album Gravity’s Rainbow (1993), which was also to be her last album on Chrysalis. The acoustic-based rock album Inamorata was issued in 1997, and in 2003 she released her final studio album to date, Go. There have been a lot of compilation albums chronicling Benatar’s career from her pre-1980s glory days up to the present. Greatest Hits (2005) has been one of her best-selling “best-of” albums, followed closely by a previously released collection Best Shots (1989), which still sells well up to this day.
Benatar is still very much active in the music industry, mostly engaging in performing for rock/oldies music aficionados. She has been going on concert tours along with her longtime husband Giraldo (who is also known by his stage moniker “Spyder”).
Least Known Facts About Pat Benatar
You might have followed Pat Benatar journey and career path as a fan, but there are some facts about her that only a few people area aware of.
Benatar Was Recognized At An Amateur Night
In 1977, Chrysalis Records and Terry Ellis discovered Benatar in the NY City while she was performing at a comedy club. In fact, the club was also called Catch a Right Star, and certainly it lived by the name.
She won Awards For Her Vocals Three Years in a Row
The popular Grammy Awards are presented to a number of nominees over the years. However, Benatar won the award for three consecutive years, from 1980 to 1983. Indeed, she was well deserved!
Pat Benatar won the following awards:
- Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance
- People’s Choice Award for Favorite Female Artist
- American Music Award for Favorite Female Artist Pop/Rock
- American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist.
Benatar’s Mother Was a Trained Opera Singer
Same as Benatar, her mother named Mildred (also called by nickname Millie) was also an opera singer. In fact, the journey of Millie as a vocalist ignited the passion of music in Benatar, and the talent was inherited. Therefore, she attended Julliard in the New York City to study music.
On a bittersweet note, Millie had to give up her career as a singer to raise Pat and Andrew well. Millie is better known as a beautician now because of the sacrifice she made, but we respect her choices and will also remember her powerful voice.
Benatar’s Love For Boats And Oceans
Benatar spent her childhood along Long Island’s South Shore. She would go on her friends’ clam boat for outings every now and then. Pat also met an accident while boating. Fortunately, the Coast Guard rescue her and boat was towed back to the shore.
Her Surname Was “Patricia Andrzejewski” By Birth
Benatar’s mother was Millie Knapp and her father was Andrzej Andrew Andrzejewski who was a polish descent. However, Pat took her last name ‘Benatar’ from her first marriage, and it stayed with her. Originally, her name was Patricia Andrzejewski.