Hey there, hi there, ho there.
The latest duelling 80's playlist by me and my friend Oates (on account we just love oatmeal for breakfast), casts the spotlight on one Patricia Mae Andrzejewski, a Brooklyn, NY native raised in Long Island who dropped out of Juilliard to marry her first husband, despite having the chance to become a major star in the world of opera. Lucky for us...her Beverly Sills aspirations came to a grinding halt - and we've been thankful ever since.
Her debut album "In The Heat of the Night" was released in 1979. She gave us her debut Top 40 hit in "Heartbreaker". While the 1980's was rife with disco divas, R&B queens and middle-of-the-road soft rock/pop artists and groups, she became one of the few elite women rockers to gain prominence in the decade, along with the likes of Joan Jett, Debbie Harry, Stevie Nicks and the 'Heart' sisters: Ann and Nancy Wilson.
Proving that her 5-foot frame hasn't stopped her using those sexy, powerhouse pipes to her advantage, she also built a sexy, tough image that made her MTV-friendly, most especially in her most iconic music video for "Love Is a Battlefield" (1983) directed by music video czar Bob Giraldi, responsible for many of the late Michael Jackson's video opuses, such as "Beat It" and "Say Say Say" with Paul McCartney; where she shook and shimmied and taught that bastard pimp a lesson in prostitute etiquette.
Now, without further adieu, my buddy Oates and his top 5 PB (no J) picks.
- Everybody Lay Down (1993)The first single off her album "Gravity's Rainbow" finds her sporting in a 90's 'grungy' sound. An album cut with plenty of flair, but, no chart release or success.
- Love Is a Battlefield (1983)Her signature song which melded rock sensibilities with a danceable beat. Earned her a well-deserved Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. Also, a rare dance/rock song to incorporate 'whistling'.
- Hit Me With Your Best Shot (1980)One can have more than one signature song and Benatar has two; at least, by my count. This one, a short, but in-your-face, powerhouse rocker where she defies her soon-to-be-ex to put his money where his mouth is. Also, like many rock songs, it would become a sporting event anthem.
- Shadows of the Night (1982)One of her more polished efforts with more emphasis on synthesizers and bass than guitar licks, but there's a doozy of a guitar solo before the last chorus that more than makes up for it.
- We Belong (1984)A much slower, sweeter PB ballad with new-agey synthesizers and acoustic guitar. Okay, we can say at least, THREE signature songs as it's her first hit to feature an all-children choir.
- Invincible (1985)Her one movie soundtrack hit off the "The Legend of Billie Jean" film. Had all the ingredients of a PB rock classic, but with some raw empowerment lyrics for anyone who's been on the receiving end of the short stick. Pretty much life in middle school to be exact.
- Shadows of the Night (1982)Also on my list. The sexy a cappella opening starts us on the ride and the screeching guitar is the killer hook that swerves, kicks and keeps our head-bopping into infinity!
- Heartbreaker (1980)Her first major hit in one simple word - WOW! A killer hard rock anthem that had her blasting her multi-octave range in a joyous, symphonic, angel chorus of one. Her opera training clearly paying off on this one.
- Love Is a Battlefield (1983)"Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoooooa" indeed! Co-penned by hit-maker Holly Knight and one of the rare danceable rock tracks by a female rocker. As mentioned earlier, it was also known for its memorable MTV video where she and a group of hooker/strippers danced and shimmied to their scary-gold-toothed pimp to teach him a lesson...on how to be a super scary villain in an 80's music video.
- And last, but NOT least...Hit Me With Your Best Shot (1980)My choice was simple, and why? Simply put; raw simplicity. Electric guitar, check. Barely a keyboard track, check. Simple, uncomplicated beat, check. Lyrics: just plain-good-old-fashioned "I-just-don't-give-a-shit-about-you" moxie. Best part? All under three sexy minutes! To this day, that "notch in my lipstick case" line still puts a wide-ass smile on my face.