Thursday, September 30, 1982

Pat Benatar “Shadows of the Night” charted

Shadows of the Night

Pat Benatar

Writer(s): David Leigh Byron, Rachel Sweet (see lyrics here)

Released: September 18, 1982

First Charted: September 30, 1982

Peak: 13 US, 13 CB, 18 GR, 8 RR, 3 AR, 50 UK, 12 CN, 19 AU, 10 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 15.4 video, 29.04 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Rock singer/songwriter Pat Benatar was born in New York City, New York in 1953. She released her first single, “Day Gig,” in 1974 but it failed to chart. Five years later, she had her breakthrough with a cover of John Mellencamp’s “I Need a Lover,” a chart hit in Belgium and the Netherlands. The song was the lead single from her debut album, In the Heat of the Night, which also produced “Heartbreaker.” That was her first Billboard Hot 100 hit, reaching #23.

Her second album, Crimes of Passion, gave Benatar her first top-10 hit with “Hit Me with Your Best Shot.” The album reached #2 and sold 4 million copies, the biggest seller of her career. She followed it up with the #1 album Precious Time. At this point, each of her three albums had produced three top-40 hits. Her fourth album, Get Nervous, broke the streak – by landing three songs in the top 40. The album’s first single, “Shadows of the Night,” reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it her second most successful chart entry at that point (she would go on to rack up three more top-10 hits).

Benatar was not the first to record the song. David Leigh Byron wrote the song for the 1980 movie Times Square about two New York City runaways. The song failed to make it into the movie WK so Byron intended to record it for his second album. His record label, Arista, rejected it as lacking commercial appeal and Byron left the label. SF

It was then recorded and released in 1981 by Helen Schneider, an American singer who worked primarily in Germany. Bryon claims the song went five times platinum there. WK Ohio-born singer Rachel Sweet also recorded the song in 1981 with slightly different lyrics. The song had yet to experience any chart success in the United States. Then Benatar recorded it, also making some minor lyrical changes. Sweet was angry when she didn’t receive any writing credit. It turns out Byron submitted it to Benatar without mentioning Sweet’s lyrical changes. SF

The video stars Benatar as a flying ace during World War II fighting against the Nazis. In the end, it turns out it was a dream and she is really a riveter. The video features Judge Reinhold as a pilot and Bill Paxton as a Nazi radio operator. Benatar’s husband, Neil Giraldo, wasn’t a fan of videos, saying that “as videos got more popular, they became little stories or vignettes, and…didn’t represent the song anymore.” SF Still, he acknowledged how much impact the video had on making the song a hit. SF

The song earned Benatar her third consecutive Grammy win for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.


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First posted 12/23/2022; last updated 12/27/2022.

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