In The Heat Of The Night
REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/11/2007
She couldn’t have gotten started on a better note that she did on her debut release, In The Heat Of The Night.
This album would serve as the blueprint for all female rock musicians to come and ensure a long career for Benatar. Those sexist male executives in the music industry must not have known what hit them. “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” indeed.
The first thing you notice about Benatar’s voice is its texture and its tendency to break. She has an impressive vocal range that is on full display on power ballads like “My Clone Sleeps Alone” and the title track, which is the perfect song for life in the big city. I particularly like it when Pat changes it up and sings in a challenging upper register, as she does on the album’s best moments, “We Live For Love” and “Heartbreaker.” The all-important 70s vehicle K-Tel wisely chose both hit songs for inclusion on their memorable Rock 80 compilation. Ah, those were the days…
Hit songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman provided three tracks for In The Heat Of The Night, and all of them are winners. The best of the bunch is “No You Don’t,” where Pat really gets a chance to rock it out. Along with Peter Coleman, Mike Chapman was also chosen to produce this great album. 70s stalwarts Nick Gilder and Alan Parsons get in on the action with their respective contributions, “Rated X” and “Don’t Let It Show,” though neither was chosen as a single.
There’s even an early John Cougar Mellencamp composition to be found in the mix entitled “I Need A Lover,” which garnered some limited radio airplay when this album was first released. When it comes to writing her own material, Pat tentatively makes the attempt with the aforementioned “My Clone Sleeps Alone” and the closing tune, “So Sincere.”
With such professional assistance, there was no way to stop this album from becoming a hit or keep Pat Benatar from becoming a star. The heavens were perfectly aligned and the assemblage of incredible talent speaks for itself. Eventually, Pat would have romantic designs on her guitarist, Neil Geraldo, and in joining forces they would prove to be an unbeatable team when it came to crafting one hit album after another. Their subsequent marriage and business partnership would continue on right up to the present, with both of them co-headlining several tours together. This is where it started, though, and it's well worth the effort.