Childhood & Early Life
Pat Benatar was born Patricia Mae Andrzejewski on January 10, 1953, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York City, USA, to Polish father Andrew and Irish mother Mildred. While her father was a sheet metal worker, her mother worked as a beautician.
From an early age, she developed an interest for fine arts, especially theatre. She even received voice lessons to improve her voice.
It was at the age of eight that she gave her first solo performance at ‘Daniel Street Elementary School.’
Her love for theatre and singing increased when she enrolled at ‘Lindenhurst Senior High School.’ She not only took part in musical theatre, but also performed solo.
Since she spent most of her growing up years in Manhattan, her musical talent was limited to classical and theatrical. She had very little knowledge about the rock scene.
She surprised her parents, friends, and teachers by opting out of a classical career to take up health education at the ‘State University’ in New York. However, she did not continue for long and dropped out after a year.
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Post marriage, she relocated to Virginia along with her husband who was working as a soldier. Meanwhile, she took up job as a bank teller. However, the profile did not suit her taste and she quit the job in 1973.
Pursuing her singing career, she landed the job of a singing waitress at ‘The Roaring Twenties,’ a night club. Next, she received a gig for singing for a lounge band named ‘Coxon’s Army’ which was a regular at various clubs in the city.
In 1974, she came up with her first and only single of this period ‘Day Gig’ which was locally released in Richmond. The song was written and produced by Phil Coxon, the leader of the band.
It was in the following year that she received her big break while performing at a comedy club named ‘Catch A Rising Star’ in New York. Her version of Judy Garland’s ‘Rock-a-Bye Your Baby’ was appreciated, so much so that she received a call back.
The same year, she landed the role of ‘Zephyr’ in Harry Chapin's futuristic rock musical ‘The Zinger.’ The first performance was scheduled to take place at the ‘Performing Art’s Foundation Playhouse’ in Huntington Station, Long Island.
Shifting base to New York, she became a regular at the comedy club ‘Catch A Rising Star’ for three years. She earned her first standing ovation at the Halloween night in 1977. Dressed as a cat woman of the moon, she gave a scintillating performance at the comedy club.
Her increasing popularity and singing acumen earned her offers to record commercial jingles for ‘Pepsi Cola’ and regional concerns. Her four-day performance at the New York City’s ‘Tramps’ nightclub was much appreciated and revered, making headlines.
Her impressive performance and outstanding singing talent earned her a contract with ‘Chrysalis Records’ in 1977. Immediately thereafter, she met Neil Geraldo, a rock guitarist whose guitaring skills gave her the exact sound she'd been looking for.
In 1979, she released her debut album ‘In The Heat of the Night’ with assistance from Geraldo. The album became a major hit with two of its singles, ‘Heartbroken’ and ‘I Need a Lover,’ becoming enormous success. The album achieved a multi-platinum status.
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The ravishing success of her debut album led her to release her ‘Grammy’ award-winning album ‘Crimes of Passion’ in 1980. The album became an overnight sensation and achieved platinum status, thus cementing her position as a rock singer. The singles ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot,’ ‘Treat me Right,’ and ‘You Better Run’ were major chartbusters.
Banking on the success of her first two albums, she released ‘Precious Time,’ her third album, in July 1981. It replicated the success of its predecessors by topping the charts, thus becoming her third successful album. It achieved platinum status with singles, such as ‘Fire and Ice’ and ‘Promises in the Dark’ becoming major hits.
The year 1982 witnessed the release of her fourth album ‘Get Nervous.’ The album peaked at number four, selling over a million copies. Its single ‘Shadow of the Night’ was a major hit.
In 1983, she released her first performance album ‘Live From Earth.’ While the single ‘Love Is A Battlefield’ peaked at the 5th position on music charts, the album gradually moved up the ranks to remain at number 13 for a long time.
In 1985, she released two albums, namely ‘Tropico’ and ‘Seven The Hard Way.’ While the former reached 14th position on US charts, the latter peaked at the 26th position.
In 1987, she came up with her first compilation album titled ‘Best Shots’ which was released in the UK. The album reached the sixth position on the UK charts and soon became a best-seller. Two years later, the album was released in the US and it achieved gold status.
‘True Love,’ a blues-oriented album, released in 1991 and marked her first release of the decade. The album was appreciated by the critics and achieved gold status.
Redefining her style and sound in 1993, she came up with yet another release, ‘Gravity’s Rainbow.’ The album was followed up by the 1994 album ‘All Fired Up: The Very Best of Pat Benatar.’ It was a compilation album and featured the best of her songs.
In 1995, she embarked on her first major tour of the US. She also took her band to Japan and Australia. The overwhelming response from the tour inspired her to tour regularly.
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In 1997, she signed a deal with the new record company ‘CMC International’ and released her brand new album ‘Innamorata.’ Following the release, she toured extensively, promoting her album. Though the album was well-received, it struggled to match the standards set by her earlier works.
Following five years of gap, during which she came up with an album of live recordings and compilation, she released an original and new album titled ‘Go’ in 2003. It remains her last original album released till date.
Benatar recorded and released a holiday song called ‘One December Night’ in 2015.
She also recorded the song ‘Shine’ to support the ‘Women's March’ on January 21, 2017.
The song ‘Dancing Through the Wreckage’ was the lead single from the soundtrack of the documentary ‘Served Like a Girl.’ In October 2017, it entered the ‘Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart,’ eventually peaking at #22 in November. The song also received a nomination for ‘Best Song from a Documentary’ at the ‘Critics' Choice Awards.’
Awards & Achievements
During the 1980s, she was nominated eight times in the category of ‘Best Female Rock Performance’ out of which she won four consecutive ‘Grammy Awards’ for the album ‘Crimes of Passion’ and the songs ‘Fire and Ice,’ ‘Shadows of the Night,’ and ‘Love is a Battlefield.’
In addition to her eight nominations in the category of ‘Best Female Rock Performance,’ she also earned two more nominations in the categories ‘Best Pop Vocal Performance’ in 1984 and ‘Best Rock Vocal Performance, Duo or Group’ in 1986.
Other than ‘Grammy Awards,’ she is the proud recipient of three ‘American Music Awards’—Favorite Female Pop/Rock Vocalist of 1981 and 1983, and Favorite Female Pop/Rock Video Artist of 1985.
In 2008, she was inducted into the ‘Long Island Music Hall of Fame’ at the ‘Second Induction Award Ceremony and Fundraising Gala.’