Still fired up: Benatar, Giraldo celebrating 35 years of musicWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
That driving guitar power and defiant delivery of mezzo-soprano vocals make “Heartbreaker” awe-inspiring.
Running three minutes and 28 seconds, the 1979 song still rocks. It surges along and builds to a dramatic break featuring Pat Benatar’s lone voice before barreling to a big ending with guitarist Neil Giraldo’s frenzied fretwork.
“[Neil’s] such a forward thinker that he was always way ahead of the curve of where everything was at the moment. He was never trying to emulate anything that was happening at the time. He’s a visionary,” Benatar said. “I think that had a lot to do with why [our music’s] not locked into an era.”
Loaded with talent, the songwriters knew it was kismet.
“I think the moment that we met each other it was so apparent to both of us. I don’t even think that we realized what was happening between us because it was on so many levels,” Benatar recalled.
“It was really all those cliché things you hear about: It was a cosmic meeting of two people who were obviously meant to be together because everything came together at one time; it was so fast. I mean, the struggling that he did and the struggling that I did before we met each other and then the ease of how everything proceeded from that moment on was just incredible.”
Together, the two hot artists burned up the charts in the 1980s with their fiery, fierce music: “Invincible,” “Promises in the Dark,” “Precious Time,” “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “Fire and Ice,” “Sex as a Weapon.”
And the videos cemented Benatar’s place in pop culture history. “You Better Run” was the second song played on MTV in 1981. Her confident swagger was backed up by those powerful pipes in that petite frame. She led a rebellion of working girls in “Love Is a Battlefield,” played a Rosie the riveter who daydreamed of taking out Nazis in the WWII-inspired “Shadows of the Night,” and showed a softer side with “We Belong.”
“The directors were crazy; the TV station itself was crazy. You could do anything you wanted; they’d give you tons of money to do anything you wanted,” Benatar said during a call from her California home. “It was just a really amazing creative time; it was fun.”
She chronicled her life and career in the 2010 best-seller “Between a Heart and a Rock Place.” She and Giraldo married in 1982 and have two adult daughters.
“The same thing as with our musical relationship, our personal relationship is the same: The ease that it just runs by itself is pretty remarkable,” the Grammy Award winner said. “We have tremendous respect for each other as people and musicians, lovers, as parents. Our life is very incestuous, and every part of it has to be treated with intense respect and care, so we do.”
That love story may be coming to the stage. The couple is working on a musical.
“We haven’t decided yet whether it’s going to be really about us or if it’s going to be about two people who are like us. That’s the only thing I can tell you about it right now. It would just be a chronological musical about how it all happened,” the singer said.
They have another project simmering.
“We’re big foodies; we cook all the time, and he’s Italian, you know. A lot of our life revolves around food and wine and family dinners,” she said. “We have a lot of great stories and a lot of delicious recipes, so we thought let’s just make a cooking book, it’ll be fun.”
Benatar and Giraldo will bring their 35-year anniversary tour to Hollywood Casino at 7:30 p.m. July 9. Tickets are $45 and $55. Sharing the bill will be Rick Springfield.
“You make records and you can perform, but it really doesn’t ever have the same effect on you until you’re sharing it with someone else,” Benatar said. “Sharing it with an audience is always the most seductive part of what we do.”