Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Songoftheday 8/23/16 - She's just 16 years old leave her alone they say, separated by fools who don't know what love is yet...


"Into The Night" - Benny Mardones
from the album Never Run, Never Hide (1980) and Benny Mardones (1989, re-recorded version)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #11 (1980, two weeks), #20 (1989, one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12 (1980), 7 (1989)

Today's song of the day comes from pop/rock singer Ruben "Benny" Mardones. Born in Cleveland but growing up in Maryland, Benny didn't get his recording career on track until he came to New York in the 70s. His second album, Never Run, Never Hide, included a soft-rock song written by Mardones and Robert Tepper (who eventually had success on his own with "No Easy Way Out" from Rocky IV). The result, "Into The Night", was one of the most strangest "beautiful" songs to ever hit the pop charts. With explicit lyrics about falling in love and bedding a girl whose age would now clearly count as statuatory rape (mind you, Benny was 34 at the time it was released) sung in earnest over this lush and spacey production, I think most people were hypnotized to ignore the intention and go for the passion. Ah, the 80s. The video certainly didn't do any favors...



"Into The Night" first hit the American Top 40 in 1980, where it came one notch from reaching the top-10. However after a second single, "Hometown Girls", missed the pop chart, "bubbling under" the  Hot 100 at #103, his career didn't recover at first, and Mardones battles drug and alcohol addiction for a bit.

Fast forward to 1989, when an Arizona radio station started to play "Into The Night" in an oldies segment, which caught the ear of some influential DJs like Scott Shannon of Los Angeles. Eventually, with national airplay, and a re-recorded single on Curb Records to make sales, "Into The Night" re-entered the charts, and for the second time Benny landed in the top-20 in July of 1989. Mind you, Benny was now forty-three, singing about that 16-year-old. All told the song spent 37 weeks on the pop chart. The single also climbed to #20 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") chart.

While he hasn't reached the Hot 100 since, Benny did continue to release music, and had a few minor adult contemporary hits in the "naughties", with "I Want It All" and "I Know You By Heart" (the latter with Katrina Carlsson) reaching #25 in 2003. Even though he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, he continues to perform live, and was a huge star in the upstate New York area.  Until then, he's secured his place in rock history with the most "guiltiest" of "guilty pleasures".

(Click below to see the rest of the post)




Here's Benny performing the song live on Chevy Chase's musical show to promote the single...


An interesting clip from the unreleased documentary for Benny Mardones...


British model/singer Nick Kamen recorded "Into The Night" for his debut album in 1987, which reached the top-40 in the UK albums chart...


In 1991 reggae artist Junior Tucker had a minor hit in Australia with "16 (Into The Night)", which covered the song...


Usher interpolated the song into his 2010 album track "Making Love (Into The Night)"...


 
 ...and lastly, here's Benny in 2011 soldiering through even with Parkinsons with a respectable performance...


Up tomorrow: A freestyle trio gives a warning.

2 comments:

John said...

My number one blog post is the one about Benny and Into the Night. Syracuse is pretty much the epicenter of Mardonesmania, and the song never really went away in the mid 80s. The song holds the record for most weeks on the Hot 100 in the 80s because of its two runs ("Gloria" had 36 in one run, "Night" had 37 on two runs). It's creepy when you think about it, but it's a pretty brilliant combo of composition and song.

twostepcub said...

I know it's intoxicatingly creepy. When I was a kid I ADORED this song, with the same spacey aura as Norman Connor's "You Are My Starship". But still, that video, though, especially at the end. OOOFdah.