Pat Benatar – Crimes of Passion (1980) on Chrysalis
Pat Benatar was one of the first female rockers that I was ever exposed to. I came from a small, rural town in Pennsylvania, where “classic rock” filled every rock station. Apparently, it was the only thing considered music, and demographically, it wasn’t shocking that we didn’t have a more diverse radio enviroment. But, classic rock was what I had, so, I looked for inspiration when it was broadcast. Granted, this was the 90s, and I could have found out about artists other ways, like MTV, or the internets, or concerts. But this was a small town, I didn’t have cable or the internet, so the radio was all I had for a long time. At times, it felt like I was really in 1970, but I digress.
On rare occasions, a female voice would come through on the dial, and it was more than likely one of three voices: Ann Wilson (Heart), Joan Jett, or Pat Benatar.
In fact, Pat Benatar’s song “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” was one of the first songs my band had covered by a female artist. She inspired me to rock out. Who doesn’t love her vocal awesomeness? Who doesn’t love her killer 80s fashion? She’s not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame yet, but she damn well better be soon. Even if you don’t like that Hall of Fame idea, (me), you still know what ladies deserve it!
I have almost all of her albums on vinyl. Cheaply, I might add. Why has Pat Benatar been regulated to the $1 bin in used record shops? Why? She was a killer force for rock music in the 1980s and even now, there are not many who match her touring cred, vocal skills, and just pure charm. Is it because she was so popular, that somehow, there is just an overload of her work on vinyl? Is it that she’s just not cool, like the piles of Barbara Streisand or Deep Purple vinyl records I also see in the $1 bins? I don’t really know, but good for me and all those who want to listen to some women who just rock.
Indeed, Pat Benatar is one of those women in rock powerhouse names. Like Blondie or Stevie Nicks, Pat is accessable to many women and grrrls out there looking for other female musicians to role model. This was true for me. I didn’t have Riot Grrrl even when it was going on. No local music scene where rebel womyn railed against the all-boys club. A lot of people put down artists that make it really big. They must have sold out somehow? Right? No. I don’t think so. In some ways, Pat’s ability to speak to such a wide audience is liberating. Eventually, you find others, lesser known and such, but there is nothing wrong starting with and loving the big ones.
So, Crimes of Passion. This album is a juggernaut for rock anthems. “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “Treat Me Right,” You Better Run,” “Hell is for Children,” and “Out a Touch” are all worthy of turning it up to eleven. They are solid when it comes to guitar riffs, climactic choruses, and singable hooks. Gosh, how can you not love Neil’s crisp and lightly distorted guitar solos? They are just so perfect! The lyrics, I might add, are empowering. “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” is a rather tongue and cheek call, challenging your potential lover. “Treat Me Right” is a theme for demanding your lover stop playing with your heart. “You Better Run” is similar, demanding your significant lover stop telling lies, and confusing them. And last, “Hell is for Children” brings light the issues of child abuse.
Pat always just seemed such a confident performer. Even if you have never seen her live, you can hear it in her voice. Maybe it was her opera training. But she commands your attention at the flicker of an octave jump. She was one of the first female artists featured on MTV. She is one of the highest selling female rock artists of all time. She knows what she is doing, and I love it! A class act all the way!
- Side A
- Treat Me Right
- You Better Run
- Never Wanna Leave You
- Hit Me With Your Best Shot
- Hell Is For Children
- Side B
- Little Paradise
- I’m Gonna Follow You
- Wuthering Heights
- Prisoner Of Love
- Out A Touch
Pat & Neil Online:
Have you ever been listening to one song, then all of a sudden, boom! You start singing the lyrics to another because the songs as soo similar? Me too! Hence this post, and perhaps future posts called “Sound-A-Like.”
For this first Sound-A-Like segment, give a listen to Laura Branigan’s “Living A Lie” (1982). It’s a great early 80s tune, full of keyboards and Pat Benatar like lyrics. I discovered her and this song as a b-side to her bigger hit “Gloria” on a 45. I have been going through my collection, and getting rid of the ones I don’ want. But before I do, I give them a listen. I like her, and I think I will try to buy a full album by her.
Anyways, listen to “Living A Lie” then, go 2 years later to “Burning For Love” (1984) by Bon Jovi. Seriously, it’s the same song! Bon Jovi’s has more lead guitar riffs, but the melody and pace are the same! Amazing! “Burning For Love” is a b-side to “She Don’t Know Me.” Again, very 80s, and oh how I love it! These are two different songs in theme, yet, so similar, I can sing one set of lyrics with the other!
So, hence the small world of music we live in. I included some youtube videos so you can hear what I hear. I also included Neil Young’s “Southern Man” (1970). The verses in both previous songs are also similar sounding. Not much, but close. Enjoy!
Also, if you know of any other “Sound A Like” songs, please send them my way!
Laura Branigan – “Living A Lie”
Bon Jovi – “Burning For Love”
Sorta Similar – Neil Young “Southern Man”
During the “I heard screaming…bull whip’s cracking…” is similar to the verses in “Burning For Love.”
The Runaways – Flaming Schoolgirls (1980) on Mercury (Germany Import)
My favorite band of all time. Well, at least one that is not together anymore, but still, my favorite! I have been a Runaways fan since I had my own all female rock band in highschool. And why not? They were way ahead of their time, and being a young aspiring Joan Jett, I needed to find inspiration and role models. There are not a whole lot of all female bands, at least that make it mainstream enough for most people to hear them.
The Runaways were considered a joke, a pseudo “Monkees” if you will. They were young teenbopper girls, dressed sexy, playing provocative music and acting all rowdy and irresponsible. Perfect right? Sounds like the same old song and dance that I hear today about other artists I like. If you find yourself saying something like that, “those kids,” “it’s too loud,” “what are they wearing,” or “when I was…” then you are officially old and should hide away somewhere. You can’t think clearly without your own “better than” nostalgia getting in the way.
The Runaways, with Cherie Currie make what Lady Gaga and Madonna wear seem done and over with. Cherie would come out on stage, basically in a bustier and platform shoes and scream and yell in the best rock and roll way possible. Joan Jett growled and pounded at chords that get you dancing. Lita Ford burned up the stage with her solos. Ha, it sounds like I have seen them live right? No, youtube is all I need.
This album is an unofficial printing of unreleased tracks and some live recordings. And does it ever kick ass. To think they were all about 18 too. I am so envious. They are all solid, talented musicians, and knew how to be subversive, even if they were being used by their record label. They wrote their own stuff, played their own instruments, and knew how to own the stage. They drew upon that teenage angst, need for freedom, drive to have fun, and uncertainty that just calls to me. It hard, fast and rocks like nothing I know currently.
So, to the Queens of Noise, you are not forgotten! Your legacy lives on inspiring other women who want to rock to take it to the next level. Thank you!
- Side A
- Strawberry Fields
- C’mon Listen
- Hollywood Cruisin’
- Blackmail Listen
- Is It Day or Night?
- Side B
- Here Comes the Sun
- Hollywood Dream
- Don’t Abuse Me
- I Love Playin’ With Fire
Their website: http://www.therunaways.com/
The youtube: Blackmail is my fav…