Adventures Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold 3

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What’s that? You want some more wussy music? You need some more wussy music? I’m here for you.

This week, we’re only going to cover one song. Why? Because the story’s so good, it deserves its own post.

Benny Mardones – Into The Night (download)

You could call Benny Mardones a one-hit wonder. But technically, you could also call Benny Mardones a two-hit wonder. And he has a pretty interesting background, too, but we’ll get to that in a minute. First, let’s talk about the song itself.

“Into The Night” did well on the charts when it was released in 1980, eventually reaching #11. It deserved to be a hit; it’s a good song. It has deep, heavy drums, dark, minor chords, a subtle piano part, ethereal backing vocals, and Mardones’ strong yet hoarse lead vocal. It features fantastic use of dynamics, and suitably builds throughout. I like some of the lyrics, as well:

It’s like having a dream
Where nobody has a heart
It’s like having it all
And watching it fall apart
And I would wait till the end of time for you
And do it again, it’s true
I can’t measure my love
There’s nothing to compare it to

I think that’s quite pretty. Of course, there’s just one problem: the opening line.

She’s just sixteen years old
leave her alone, they say

(shakes head)
(bangs head on desk)
(goes to call the cops)
(thinks better of it, hangs up)

Great. This romantic song has been ruined for me because he’s singing it to a sixteen year-old. Listen, I’m not saying that Benny Mardones likes little girls. I’m saying this song is not helping any if he’s trying to prove that he doesn’t.

Apparently, though, nobody gives a shit, and nobody gave a shit back then – because, again, the song reached #11 in 1980. And that’s not all.

In 1989, a station in Phoenix drummed up some interest in the song during a “Where Are They Now?” segment. Somehow, word got to Scott Shannon, Program Director at Pirate Radio in Los Angeles. Scott’s been running some of the biggest stations in the biggest markets for the past zillion years. Anyway, in 1989, he added “Into The Night” back onto the station’s playlist, and soon enough, stations around the country were spinning a nine year-old song. Nine years later, “Into The Night” was back on the charts, and peaked at #20.

Benny Mardones may have been a drug addict by then, but he was no fool. If you were a one-hit two-hit one hit wonder, what would you do?

You’d get your ass back into the studio and try to capitalize on the success, that’s what you’d do.

And so Benny went back into the studio, now signed with Curb Records (’cause the folks at Curb Records weren’t fools either), and re-recorded “Into The Night.” The re-release appeared on his self-titled 1989 album (“known as ‘The Blue Album’ to his fans,” his website says!).

I thought about offering “Into The Night ’89” up here for download. But there really wasn’t any point. For starters, you don’t need two versions of “Into The Night.” In fact, you might wind up hating me for it. And there’s really not much of a difference between the two versions. His voice has a little more wear and tear. The instrumentation is a little different – there’s suddenly an acoustic guitar and the bass has a terrible effect on it. We didn’t really need an “Into The Night ’89,” but by golly, we got it.

UPDATE 10 AM: So I go to my mailbox this morning and what’s waiting for me? A pristine, still-in-shrinkwrap copy of Benny Mardones’ self-titled 1989 release on Curb Records. Thank you to you-know-who for sending me this…(struggles to think of the right word)…CD.

So since I have it right here anyway, go ahead, torture yourself. If you dare.

Benny Mardones – Into The Night ’89 (download)

Things went downhill yet again after that for Benny Mardones, but not before he re-recorded the song another two frickin’ times: there’s “Into The Night (acoustic)” and “Into The Night (2002 Version).” The former features some lame ad-libs, and the latter has a voice that can no longer belt the other high notes. It brings absolutely nothing to the table. In fact, it takes things away from the table. Nobody bought it.

Except, that is, for the constituents of the fine city of Syracuse, NY.

Yes, you read that right.

According to the Benny Mardones bio:

Benny disappeared everywhere – everywhere, that is, but Syracuse, NY. With the help of fans like Tommy Nast, then program director at local station 94 Rock, Benny’s music was constantly on the air in Syracuse. In 1983, he played a legendary concert at Longbranch Park with more than 10,000 people in attendance. BennyMania took hold in upstate New York. In 1985, Benny played four sold-out shows at the 3,500-seat Landmark Theater. At his peak in Syracuse, Benny would draw 24,000 fans to a show at Weedsport Speedway.With all his records out of print, local promoters released two “Syracuse Only” records. These included “Unauthorized” and “American Dreams,” each of which sold over 18,000 copies in Syracuse. Benny’s sales topped even new releases by performers like Bruce Springsteen.


You know, when I was 17 and on the search for colleges to attend, I was wavering between a few schools. Syracuse University was one of them. They did a lot to sell me on their school. They said nothing about Benny. Had I known that living in Syracuse would have put me square in the middle of BennyMania…well, shit. Fuck the $35,000+ per year tuition. The chance to get Unauthorized and maybe even get it signed? Worth it all, my friends.

So what’s Benny been up to lately? Well, recentlly – just today, actually – he won two awards! Yes, he won the JasonHare.com Award For Worst Album Title AND Worst Album Cover:

Well, he just beat out this guy for my Favorite Awful Title With The Word “Love” In The Cover. I’m not even going to dignify the bandana with a comment. Maybe my wife said it best when she asked, “Is that a woman?”

I know you’re either thinking this story can’t get any better or when will he fucking shut up about Benny Mardones? Either way, here’s the ending. I’ve saved the best for last.

Benny has a new documentary, entitled (are you ready for this?) Into The Night: The Benny Mardones Story. And according to the cast page, it features such “characters” as Benny himself! Benny’s Mom! Roy Orbison! Wayne Newton! Richie Havens! And this guy!

I am not making this up. I didn’t even put that text on the picture. I swear.

I can’t possibly think of anything else to add – but I’m sure you might, so please feel free to contribute in the comments! And with that, I bid you a very – very – wussy goodbye. See you Friday for CHART ATTACK! and next week for more Mellow Gold!

  • Benny resembles a young Rue McLanahan in that cover photo.

  • So I get to my office today and I click over to your website and I see the name “Benny Mardones” in front of me. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! A couple of weeks ago I was playing “Into The Night” and my girlfriend asked me who the singer was. I’m a complete music geek and I usually can provide her with a complete bio and interesting tidbit about the most obscure artists. But I didn’t have anything on Benny. So I did some research and I learned about the whole thing in upstate New York and all that.

    OK, so fast forward a week later and I go out to lunch and as I am walking back towards my office, I see a big, desheveled woman walking out of the buidling. I come in and ask my co-worker who that was. He tells me, “Do you remember Benny Mardones from that one song?” I was floored! That big person I thought was a woman was actually Benny!

    We work at an indie label but our office is in the old recording studio, Hollywood Sound. Turns out that the label he’s on these days, Warrior Records, is located in the top floor of this building. He had always wanted to see our studio so he came down to say hello.

    So thanks to your post today, I’ve had my fill of Benny for a long, long time!

  • You’ve blown my mind, Carlos.

    What a story!

  • Yeah, I forgot to mention that he told my co-worker, “I’m Benny Mardones. You might know my song “Into The Night.” He then went on to explain that his son wants to get into the music business. He also said that he had made his first million after he was 30 so he was “wiser than most of the kids in the charts today.”

    Classic.

  • oh my god.

    The years have taught him NOTHING!

    You have made my fucking day.

  • Benny Mardones made his "first" million after he turned 30?He’s made more than one?I’m totally fucking intrigued by this notion. God bless America.

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  • David

    If I ever caught Benny Maradones with my 16-year-old daughter — granted, she’s only three right now, but if I caught him with her in 2019 (at which point he will have released “Into The Night” eight more times) — I would beat the fucking shit out of him. Deep, *deep* into the night.

    That said, I’ve always liked this song.

    But … you think that album covers’s bad? Have you not seen “Never Run, Never Hide,” from whence this masterpiece came?

  • I linked my friend Sam to this post a few minutes ago. He has the balls to say he thought “Into The Night” was actually sung by GINO VANELLI! Can you imagine?!

  • I went over the Benny’s website and read his bio.  I have to say that I’m really surprised that he could get $$$ for a film when his life story is  similar to almost every Behind the Music feature I’ve seen on Vh1.  Oh, and while "Dominic:  King of all Benny Fans" is classic. I’m not sure if he really beats "Tommy the Towel" or "The Front Row Crew"  for rolly-pollies of the year.Jesus Christ, man….these Mellow Gold posts are painful  — but oh-so-fun! :-)

  • Painful?  Painful for you to read?  Can you imagine what it’s like to do the research in the first place?  Sheesh!

  • Colleen M

    OMG I can not stop LOLing. What a crazy story that gets crazier. LOL

  • SnOOd

    Wow…….I thought I was the only one. Benny Lives!  Now I must shamefully step back into the shadows and flog myself for admitting I bought & and still like that song.
    SHAME ON YOU SNOOD!!! Bad SNOOD
     

  • Michael

    Great story – what a clown. 
    On first pass, I thought that guy Dominic was Gary Dell’Abate (aka Baba Booey) from the Howard Stern Show. 
    Fun stuff.  Thanks!
     

  • Billy K

    I suspect Benny is the kind of guy who Googles himself regularly (that sounded kind of dirty). I expect him to show up here at any moment.

  • Larry F.

    Although I can’t remember the source, the best review of any record I’ve ever read was about Mardones’:
    ‘ Never Run, Never Hide’…..and never record again!

  • dan s

    Lovely song, the hoarse voice reminds me a bit of the controllers.

  • mike

    worst cover ever:
    http://www.bennymardones.com/thank.html
    OK, it says "Thank God For Girls," as opposed to "…Little Girls" (which is how I remembered it).  But still, it gives a little more, uh, backstory to "Into The Night."

  • Jeremy

    This is a great song even if the guy is a clown. There is a lot worse music out there to crack on.

  • Don’t worry, I’m getting to it.

  • Beth

    I just looked up this song because it was in my head. When I used to go to the doctor’s office as a teenager (post ’89 revival), this song would always come on in the waiting room, and it unsettled me that the doctor’s office thought that a song that seemed to me at the time to be about kidnapping was an okay song for sick kids to listen to. I still kind of expect to hear it in waiting rooms. I was a little surprised not to find more people on the internet talking about how it’s kind of gross, actually.

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  • Yeah, the song was really great. No wonder he couldn’t take out ant more hit songs.

  • MelissaM

    Oh, PS: I just looked you up online and you were a lil hard to find because not too many people apparently know you (or care, or both), but I think I found you. Are you the guy in the photo with the big nose and no lips or are you the overweight guy with the goofy smile? Either way, I wouldn’t throw off on the photos of others if I were you. Just sayin’…

  • MelissaM

    Sorry, posted that in the wrong spot, I’ll try again.

  • Syracuse University is the best University in my hometown. I studied my college there and then went to NY to work as an accountant. It has been 25 years and I still remember the landscape of my hometown :0 Thanks for sharing this.

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