Former bank cashier Patricia Andrejewski changed her name to Benatar and began singing in the late 1970’s.
She was “discovered” in the New York cabaret Catch A Star in 1979 and signed with Chrysalis Records, releasing her debut album – In The Heat Of The Night – that same year.
As she began to make it, her eight-year marriage to video editor Dennis Benatar dissolved.
Benatar had a career plagued by major inconsistencies of intent; she placed her 1980 hit Hit Me With Your Best Shot on the same album as Hell Is For Children (an attempted ‘Big Statement’ about child abuse).
On the cover of Crimes of Passion (the album containing these two songs), she wore a tight dance outfit with her butt stuck out for our amusement. Did she want us to hit her, care for her, or ogle her? All paths led to record stores though, so as long as fans bought the record she didn’t care what message she was putting across.
She and her husband/producer Neil Giraldo made a fortune for more than half a decade cranking out album-oriented radio-ready songs that accentuated her submissive voice and his aggressive arrangements.
It’s not surprising then that when Benatar and Giraldo wanted to be legitimised, they still tried to have it both ways.
As much as they might claim otherwise, the primary purpose of Sex As A Weapon (both the single and the video) was to titillate.
It was no accident that the first two words of the chorus – “Stop using sex as a weapon” – were left off the title and the record sleeve. This way they could damn the idea and still make money promoting it.
Pat and Neil filled many interviewers’ cassettes with their ramblings about how they were now purveyors of high art, but nobody believed them and they haven’t had a major hit since. If you’re making a sincerity move, you had better be believable.
In 1985, Benatar and Giraldo became the proud parents of a baby girl, Haley, but Benatar continued to record and tour right up until 1993, when she was forced to come off the road after the release of Gravity’s Rainbow, to give birth to her second daughter, Hana.
Back on tour in the summer of 1995 with REO Speedwagon and Fleetwood Mac she proved to the masses, once again, that she was still one of rock’s premiere female vocalists.