Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo perform Monday in Beaver Creek
Vail CO, Colorado
In 1980, Pat Benatar belted out the lyrics “Knock me down, it’s all in vain / I’ll get right back on my feet again” in her mega-popular song “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.”
For millions of teenage girls, this song was more than just another top 40 blockbuster, it was a battle cry.
Benatar’s image as a tough, leather-clad female rocker was an answer to the male-dominated world of hair bands who often sang about women as sexual objects or trivial annoyances.
“I just like her attitude. Her attitude was ‘don’t mess with me.’ She’s real tough, really just to the point and I’m kind of like that, so she’s just empowering,” said Maria Hannam, a 40 year old Loveland resident whose been a fan of Benatar since she was 14.
“When you’re young and you’re a teen and your going through issues and stuff, I just identified with some of her songs,” Hannam said.
A living legend
To this day, Hannam still identifies with Benatar’s music. She is a member of the official Pat Benatar Fan Club and will be at tonight’s show in Beaver Creek, one of three consecutive Benatar shows in three days throughout Colorado that Hannam will attend. Tonight’s performance will feature Benatar and her long time husband and guitarist, Neil Giraldo.
“I thought it would reach a fairly large demographic but now it seems to be that there are a lot of really young people who have a big interest in it,” said Kris Sabel, theater director for the Vilar Performing Arts Center. “We’re just excited to have (her), she’s kind of a legend.”
Reaching a new generation
Indeed, Benatar has secured her spot as a musical legend. She won four Grammy Awards for “Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female” through the years of 1980 and 1983 and six of her albums have gone platinum. Songs such as “We Belong,” “Hell is for Children,” “Love is a Battlefield” and “Shadows of the Night” will forever be played on classic rock radio. Like many rock stars who found their fame during the ’80s, Pat Benatar keeps her musical career afloat with a mix of nostalgia and talent. Long-time fans such as Hannam keep her in demand while a new generation of fans grows consistently larger thanks to exposure from the video game “Guitar Hero III” and hearing their parent’s old Benatar albums. Hannum said her 14-year-old son was excited to see Benatar and Giraldo in concert because he’s a guitar player himself.
“She’s a good performer, she’s got a lot of energy, she’s still doin’ it after 29 years,” said Joe Cross, founder of the Pat Benatar Fan Club.
He’s driving to Beaver Creek from Kansas for tonight’s show. According to Cross, the fan club has a fair amount of younger members, which doesn’t surprise him at all since a lot of them are just now discovering rock music. Cross also likes the clean-living role-model that Benatar has become for young people.
Despite the fact that most of Benatar’s biggest hits were written in the ’80s that doesn’t mean she has been resting on her laurels. Her last studio album was released in 2003 and an acoustic album of her hits is expected out sometime later this year.
“The woman can still sing. She’s got a great voice and she’s still writes great songs,” Hannam said.
High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or firstname.lastname@example.org.