Happy Birthday Pat Benatar! Here Are Her 20 Greatest Songs

Photo of Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar burst on the scene in late 1979, and for most of the 80′s she ruled the charts and concerts stages. During the decade, she won four consecutive Grammy Awards for Best Female Rock Vocal, had two Multi-Platinum albums, five Platinum albums, three Gold albums and 14 Top 40 singles. She was a also a huge presence in the early days of MTV, and was a fashion icon for her spandex and “Benatar Hair.”

Strangely, she rarely gets a mention when it comes to the “gay icon” label, even though she’s played countless Pride events, numerous AIDS Walks, and has always maintained that her gay audience is her favorite audience. And let’s face it, her music is all about being yourself and not taking shit from anyone, which is a message many of us of a certain age took to heart when we were young.

Today is her 61st birthday, so let’s pay tribute with a look back at her 20 greatest songs. Some were hits, and some are more obscure, but like the lady herself, they all kick-ass!

20. YOU BETTER RUN

Year: 1980
Hot 100 Peak: #42

This is Benatar at her most Benatar, and it’s the answer to the trivia question “What was the second music video played on MTV?”

19. PRECIOUS TIME

Year: 1981
Hot 100 Peak: N/A

Title track from her only #1 album, it’s another “cut the crap” song. Pat was born to be on MTV, and the video is a hoot, with the headband, and the rolls, and the mansion, split screens, and Neil Giraldo (her husband of over thirty years) shirtless in an … alien desert landscape?

18. WUTHERING HEIGHTS

Year: 1980
Hot 100 Peak: N/A

Pat’s cover of Kate Bush‘s signature song may seem like a surprise addition to her discography, but she does an admirable job, giving Kate’s eccentricity a rock edge.

17. LA BEL AGE

Year: 1986
Hot 100 Peak: #54

One of Pat’s most underrated singles, from her most underrated album Seven The Hard Way

16. ALL FIRED UP

Year: 1988
Hot 100 Peak: #19

From her last gold-selling album Wide Awake In Dreamland, this straight out rocker was, sadly, her final Top 40 hit.

15. LITTLE TOO LATE

Year: 1983
Hot 100 Peak: #20

Second single from Get Nervous, it was the perfect song for a young gay boy to lip-synch to in front of the mirror.

14. HELL IS FOR CHILDREN

Year: 1981
Hot 100 Peak: N/A

Years before “Luka,” Pat took the subject of child abuse head on. This might rank higher if it weren’t for the fact that after it came out, my older sister would smack me in the back in the head and scream “Hell is For Children!”

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