Pat Benatar’s polished mainstream pop/rock made her one of the more popular female vocalists of the early ’80s. Although she came on like an arena rocker with her power chords, tough sexuality, and powerful vocals, her music was straight pop/rock underneath all the bluster. Born Patricia Andrzejewski on January 10, 1953, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the singer was raised in the nearby town of Lindenhurst on Long Island, New York. Benatar began singing regularly in the New York City area in the ’70s, where she was discovered at the Catch a Rising Star club and signed by Chrysalis Records. A stellar band led by guitarist Neil Geraldo (who the singer would later marry), provided the perfect accompaniment that was able to effortlessly alternate between rockers and ballads. Benatar quickly established herself as one of rock’s top vocalists, scoring a hit right off the bat with her debut album, 1979’s In the Heat of the Night, which spawned such radio favorites as “Heartbreaker” and “I Need a Lover” (the latter of which was written by a then unknown John Mellencamp).
Benatar’s sophomore effort, 1980’s Crimes of Passion, more than delivered on the debut’s promise and it’s often considered to be the finest recording of her career. Spurred on by such classic rock radio standards as “Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” “Treat Me Right,” and “You Better Run,” the album was certified platinum shortly after its release and Benatar became a certified arena headliner in the U.S. She also became one of the most-played artists during MTV’s early days, received several Grammy Awards around this time, and continued to enjoy massive hits and sold-out tours throughout the early and mid-’80s. She released such albums as 1981’s Precious Time, 1982’s Get Nervous, 1983’s Live from Earth, 1984’s Tropico, 1985’s Seven the Hard Way, and 1988’s Wide Awake in Dreamland, plus the singles “Fire & Ice,” “Promises in the Dark,” “Shadows of the Night,” “Love Is a Battlefield,” “We Belong,” and “Invincible.” But by the end of the decade, it appeared that Benatar had fallen of the face of the Earth as the hits seemed to dry up.