Last week, Rhonda was lucky enough to see Pat Benatar live in concert. Any concert sounds amazing now but I’ve never seen Benatar so that one sounds extra incredible. Her voice is timeless and her track record of hit singles is formidable. As a fan of MTV, though, it was her videos that burned themselves on my brain at a young age. “Love Is A Battlefield” might be her cinematic masterpiece but “Shadows Of the Night” is so insanely entertaining that I’d rank it in my top 10 videos from the era. Her guitarist/husband Neil Giraldo probably would not: “Why would you do a song like ‘Shadows of the Night’ and have it like a war scene? What is this? This is horrible.” So, who is right? Let’s take a look!
The Rosie the Riveter metaphor to open the video sets up where the video is headed as Benatar takes a break from her factory job to dream about joining the war. The immense size of World War II is a bit hard to budget for in a 4-minute pop song but I’m sure four fighter pilots should have no problem with the Nazi regime. Plus, Benatar isn’t the only legend in this battle. Whenever you want to take down a foreign power, the first call should always be to Brad Hamilton (Judge Reinhold) from Fast Times At Ridgemont High. As the planes take flight, I still get chills. This song is so good!
Avoiding radar (somehow), the four pilots sneak into the Nazi enclave which looks a lot like a Spanish-themed hotel in Hollywood, CA. Upon extensive research (a Google search), my guess wasn’t too far off. The setting for this cinematic gem was the Rindge House in Los Angeles! The lack of security around this base is astounding. Benatar and her mates hop a wall and they’ve infiltrated the Nazi base! Bombs planted, they make a run for their planes while the house comes to life and chases after them.
Benatar sings the chorus into the plane’s radio as the German radio operator (Bill Paxton) tries to coordinate their capture. Is this video the inspiration for Top Gun? A rock-n-roll fighter plane movie? Maybe? All four US planes survive and head off into the sunset as the German base explodes into flames. I get so caught up in the action that I always forget it was just a dream. The video ends with Benatar returning from her daydream in the factory.
I’m sorry Neil Girardo but this video is an MTV classic. I understand a “serious” musician probably doesn’t want to admit how cool videos were but how could you not enjoy this! Director Mark Robinson didn’t direct a lot of MTV videos but his resume remains impressive. In addition to this masterpiece, he was behind the camera for The Pretenders’ “Brass In Pocket” and Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” as well. Regardless if you like the video as much as me, this song still rocks hard and here is a red-hot live version for your Wednesday.