Benny Mardones: Into The Night

The first time Into The Night showed up on my radar was through an eighties sort of one-hit-wonders compilation. Not the 99 Luftballons or the Pump Up The Volume kind of one-hit-wonders, but closer to soft rock stuff that had been recorded in the late seventies and broke through to the early eighties. It was most certainly the standout track on the record, that also featured stuff like Rocky Burnette, Robbie Dupree, Ambrosia etc. It was the cheesiest power ballad, the kind you’d never admit you like in front of your friends.

The name Benny Mardones was not a recognizable nor a standout one on the compilation's back cover. Judging from the soulful mellowness, one could guess that it might had been a soul singer behind the song, then again at that point it was not a thing of the essence to research, but after revisiting the record over and over again, Into The Night caught on. Mardones was an unusual name for a soul man and on top of that, that record was full on adult contemporary soft rock radio hits, there weren’t any black artists in there, this was white people’s music, the closest it had gotten to soul was the term “blue-eyed soul”.

So Benny Mardones turned out to be a white, half-Chilean long hair guy from Cleveland, OH, a moderately Rod Stewart-type of rocker without the sex-drugs-rock-n-roll background, that was previously produced by Andrew Loog Oldham. Into The Night has been his only big hit, which made history by being one of the very few songs to ever chart twice on Billboard, reaching #11 in its first run in 1980 and #20 in another run in 1989 and staying in the charts for a total of 37 nonconsecutive weeks. It was a mighty big hit, but that was it for Benny Mardones.

The song came back into my attention because recently, while watching the film Life After Beth. There was a scene where two people were having a conversation in a diner and Into The Night could barely be heard in the distant background, proving that the song’s cheesy legacy still stands strong after all these years.

The music video Mardones made for the song is just priceless! It was done in 1980, preceding MTV, so it didn’t get much airplay. It kicks off with a dude with a legendary beard that answers the door to face the singer, lip-syncing the first lyrics of the song in Mardones’ high pitched voice: She’s just 16 years old/ Leave her alone… What follows is just everything you needed to watch. A young girl sitting in her room, endlessly waiting, Mardones at a pay phone singing the rest of the song to the girl on the other line, then he’s suddenly in the girl’s room and after we see him unrolling a carpet on the floor, he takes the girl by the hand as they lift off on the carpet, which turns out to be a magic one and they fly over New York, well, into the night…

Press play and say hello to your guiltiest pleasure…

The song is featured in Benny Mardones’ 1980 LP Never Run, Never Hide, his 1989 LP Benny Mardones and a re-recorded version is on his 2002 record, A Journey Through Time.

Sadly Benny was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease in 2000, but he’s a strong dude, as he’s never stopped doing live gigs, and even got married for a third time in 2011.

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