October 1982: When It Was Time for Pat Benatar to "Get Nervous"

Pat Benatar "Get Nervous" on vinyl
Photo Credit
(Courtesy of Chrysalis)

By the fall of 1982, current Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee Pat Benatar was at the peak of her powers. Along with her ace band led by husband Neil Giraldo, Benatar already had three hit albums and a pair of Grammys under her belt. Precious Time, the group's 1981 full-length, had topped the album charts and produced a Top 20 single in "Fire and Ice."

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When it came time to record a follow-up, the rock scene had been to feel the pinch of "new wave." Having survived the late-'70s punk explosion relatively intact, the more melodic synthesizer sounds of the burgeoning new wave would prove seductive to ambitious and innovative rockers like Benatar.

As such Get Nervous --released on October 29, 1982-- shimmers with touches of synth melodies and electronic drums mixed into the music behind Benatar's powerhouse voice. The album's first single, "Shadows of the Night," embodied this new approach, charging up the charts to its highest position of #13 on the Hot 100. The song, which was written by songwriter D.L. Byron and first recorded by singer Rachel Sweet, would also come with an over-the-top music video featuring Benatar dreaming of fighting Nazis with Judge Reinhold as a fighter pilot and Bill Paxton as one of the evil Nazis. Most traces of the clip have been scrubbed from the internet.

"As videos got more popular, they became little stories or vignettes, and to me they didn't represent the song anymore," Giraldo told Songfacts. "So I wasn't a big fan, and I hated it. I was like, 'How could you do this?' Why would you do a song like 'Shadows of the Night' and have it like a war scene? What is this? This is horrible. Who thought this was a good idea? We made the rule that there would be no more historical costumes anymore after that video. It just became stupid and senseless."

The song would provide Benatar with her third Grammy for Best Rock Performance, Female.

Benatar's second Get Nervous single, the peppy "Little Too Late," would peak at #20 on the Hot 100. The album's third and final US single, "Looking for a Stranger," would sneak into the Top 40, getting as high as #39.

Benatar would follow Get Nervous with her first live album, 1983's Live from Earth, which would also come with a pair of new tracks: "Lipstick Lies" and what would go on to become her signature smash, "Love is a Battlefield."

 

 

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