Heartbreaker – Pat Benatar – 1979

Pat Benatar HeartbreakerFrom classical singer to bank teller to singing waitress to rock star; Pat Benatar just sneaks into the list of 70s music by a few months thanks to her 1979 hit, Heartbreaker.

chatting with my bro-in-law

So, I’m chatting with my brother-in-law the other day when he mentions how much he loves the music and voice of Pat Benatar. I think, it would be great to include something by her in the 70s music blog, but you know the rules—I have to hear it on the radio that week!

Well, the rock gods were smiling on us all because the very next morning = Heartbreaker!!

lil’ patti, bank teller!

Patti—as she was known as a girl—became enamoured with singing as an eight year old. Back then it was classical music and theatre. Rock music was completely outside her sphere of listening.

By the time she hit teenage years, Pat had her heart set on attending the Juilliard School, majoring in classical singing—then came the surprise. Pat shocked her family by suddenly changing her mind. She decided classical music wasn’t for her. She dropped singing and studied health education at university in New York instead. Only for a year though.

At 19 years old, she left university to marry her high school sweetheart Dennis Benatar. Pat moved to Virginia with him (he was an army man), and worked as a bank teller.

along came liza

In 1973, Pat went to a Liza Minnelli concert. So inspired was she that she decided to take up singing again—but this time a genre with a little more beat to it.

She was offered a job as a singing waitress in a 20s themed nightclub, and then with a lounge band named Coxon’s Army.

For the next five or six years nothing much happened outside of a divorce and a part in Harry Chapin’s musical The Zinger.


In 1978, Pat signed with Chrysallis Records and, in June and July 1979, she recorded her first album, In the heat of the night—on it was the hit single, Heartbreaker.

Pat went on to win an unprecedented four consecutive Grammy Awards for Best Female Rock Performance from 1980 to 1983. In fact, of the ten Grammy Award ceremonies in the 1980s, Pat was nominated for Best Female Rock Performance eight times,

heartbreaker fax

  • Heartbreaker is featured on Pat’s 1979 album, In the Heat of the Night. It was co-produced by the famous Mike Chapman.
  • Heartbreaker peaked at #23 US Billboard Hot 100.
  • Heartbreaker was named the 72nd best hard rock song of all time by VH1.
  • The only significant cover of Heartbreaker has been by Alvin and the Chipmonks!
  • A parody version of Heartbreaker was featured in US comedy show, My Name is Earl.
  • There is another song named Heartbreaker, performed by The Crystals, that contains the lyrics;

He’s a heartbreaker, hip shaker, troublemaker.

Heartbreaker – Pat Benatar – 1979 – video

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