As an 80s baby, I may be a bit biased when I say that the 1980s brought us some of the most amazing female vocalists ever, one of them being Pat Benatar. As one of the 1980s Top Selling Album Recipients, according to the RIAA, with two certified Multi-Platinum albums, five Platinum albums, three Gold albums, and 19 Top 40 singles, Benatar is a bonafide wailer and one of the top selling female artists of all time.
While her musical career was years in the making, a young Benatar began voice lessons in elementary school as was accepted to Juillard as a trained soprano coloratura, her signature spandexed style developed by accident. On Halloween in 1977 instead of changing out of her costume for a performance Benatar took the stage in black tights, heavy black eye liner, and a short black top, and received a standing ovation from the crowd despite performing her usual songs.
“The crowd was always polite, but this time they went out of their minds. It was the same songs, sung the same way, and I thought, ‘Oh my god…it’s these clothes and this makeup!'”
In 1979, Benatar released her first album, In the Heat of the Night, which became her first certified platinum album and established her as a force to be reckoned with. On August 1, 1981 the Brooklyn born rocker moved from the airwaves to America’s TV screens when her video for “You Better Run” was the second music video ever played by MTV following The Buggles “Video Killed the Radio Star” when the station debuted. Wearing her signature smoky eye, killer red lipstick, and more spandex than American Apparel could ever sell, Benatar was the embodiment of rock rebellion prompting many an American teen to take notes on her style.
By the mid 80s Pat Benatar had firmly established herself as a tough chick who frequently tackled tough subject matters in her songs. Being that I wasn’t born until the mid 80s, I always think of Pat Benatar as the leader of a dancing pack of hookers who took on their pimp in her video for “Love is a Battlefield”. Between the heavy eye shadow, well teased hair, and the torn t-shirts and fishnets, the look that Benatar and her fellow ladies of the night sported was jam packed with everything that we know and love about the 80s. The video alone makes this song one of my favorite songs from the 80s and my favorite Pat Benatar song, along with “Heartbreaker”, “Invincible” from the Legend of Billie Jean, and “We Belong”.
Channel your inner Benatar in this decade with a smudge of black liner, a bold lip, and spandex, spandex, spandex. Don’t forget to add one dangling earring or a mismatched pair, which was an 80s staple for pop-rock legends like Pat Benatar, and an overwhelming need to stick up for the underdogs in life.
Check out these videos for some inspiration.
Layout by Sarah B
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