Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Music Box: Pat Benatar

How could I have shunned Pat Benatar all of these years? Sure, I had no choice but to admit "Heartbreaker" was one of the greatest singles of all time. But then I just kept throwing "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" in her fans' faces (pity when an inferior tune becomes an artist's signature song) and dismissed her as having a great voice but generally weak material. But with age comes wisdom. As I recently began to admit to myself that maybe I was just a tad bit jealous that Pat was becoming the MTV video queen that I felt Debbie Harry should have been (oddly, I didn't resent Joan Jett one bit), Mark Allen set me straight and ordered me to get Pat's first three albums, indisputably her best. I did and now I don't know what else to say other than I'm sorry. Or, how about, What was I thinking?

"In the Heat of the Night" is obviously a classic late-'70s quirky (almost "new wave") album, that not only includes the to-die-for singles "Heartbreaker," "We Live for Love" and "I Need a Lover," but also the sexy "Rated X," the pouty "So Sincere" and the melodramatic "My Clone Sleeps Alone." Her second, "Crimes of Passion," plays like the soundtrack to my freshman year of high school, with the killer singles "Treat Me Right" and "You Better Run," plus the dreamy "I'm Gonna Follow You" (remember that HOT video????), "Little Paradise," "Prison of Love" and her wonderful cover of Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights." (Despite my school's Ridgemont High in the desert ways, we surprisingly had NO Pat Benatar clones.) Album three, "Precious Time," has the memorable title track, "Promises in the Dark" and "Fire and Ice," plus album standouts "Just Like Me" "Take It Any Way You Want It" and the Martha Davis-esque "Evil Genius." (Her subsequent albums veered more AOR, but still produced a number of memorable songs. "We Belong," "Le Bel Age" and "One Love" were my favorites.)

Suddenly, the Blondie-Pat Benatar "Call Me Invincible" summer tour I was making fun of is sounding like it's right up my alley ...

And you know that you can't dance ...

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    1 comment:

    Soulsearcher said...

    Pat has tended to start her recent tours in Minneapolis, whether on her own or touring with Lilith Fair. I caught one of her shows a while back and found her to be humble, delightful and rockin' as ever. Like you, I hadn't been a fan back in the day, but she's still kickin' and puts on a great show.