Sappy Song Department
“Into the Night” by Benny Mardones (1980/89)
Sappy but brilliant, the vocals on this song are phenomenal! Benny’s range and soulful rendering over this catchy melody is memorable. It is really a shame Benny Mardones did not do more material. It is estimated that this song has been played at least 4.5 million times in the U.S. alone.
His father was Chilean and he was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but brought up in Maryland. He started his career as a song writer, writing for Chubby Checker and Brenda Lee. After a stint in the Navy during Vietnam, Benny met Richie Havens when he moved to Woodstock, NY. Richie was so impressed with Benny he started opening for Haven's shows. Eventually due to some lucky breaks, Andrew Loog Oldham (who had produced the first seventeen Rolling Stones records) then noticed Benny as did Larry Utall, then President of Private Stock Records (the original home of Blondie). The record "Thank God For Girls" was released in 1979 recorded with Private Stock. The song did not chart, and Private Stock folded.
Benny’s friend, Bill McGathy was working for Polydor records and signed Benny. With his new song writing partner Bobby Tepper, the album “Never Run, Never Hide” was writen and produced. It included “Into the Night”.Benny was already 33 years old when this song became a hit (peaking at number 11) the first time in 1980. He was personally at the low point in his life, battling drug addiction which he eventually beat.
Benny tried to record another album for the financially troubled Polydor called “Too Much to Lose”, but due to his drug dependencies and problems it fell quickly to oblivion and Benny all but disappeared from the face of the earth.
In 1989 a radio station in Arizona ran a “Where are they Now” programme and the most popular question was “Whatever happened to the guy that did “Into The Night”?” Pirate Radio in Los Angeles added it to their playlist and stations across the country followed suit. Bam! It became a hit again.
He is still a superstar in Syracuse New York to this day living quite well off the royalties of this top 20 hit – not once but twice.. "Into The Night: The Benny Mardones Story” was released on DVD in 2008.