Harry Chapin Tribute
Following a protracted lay-off, Pat Benatar is back on the scene with her latest Chrysalis album, "Wide Awake In Dreamland," the singer's first release in almost three years.
"When you take that long a period of time off nad you're not out there doing it, it's kind of like starting over, which is nice in a way," says Benatar, who enjoyed a succession of hits during the late '70s and early '80s.
"This album took a lot of hard work, writing songs and then throwing them out to get the (best selection)," she adds. "But I think that often when bands have to crank out an album in a limited amount of time, the record hasn't really evolved to its full maturity and the songs are still in their infancy stages.
"With this album, we were able to wait. We took our time and let the songs evolve."
When "Wide Awake In Dreamland" was finally deliverd to Chrysalis, the label launched its promotional campaign by issuing 'All Fired Up' as the album's leadoff single. According to Daniel Glass, the label's VP of promotion, "Our main thing was to reestablish Pat's position as the No. 1 female rocker in the business, and "All Fired Up" was the perfect vehicle for that. We took it to the No. 1 album track for three weeks in a row."
The song peaked at No. 19 on the Hot 100 Singles chart, but, says Glass, "We wanted to show people that Benatar rocks. That was the whole purpose of the first single, and it really performed. We've sold 500,000 albums off the one track."
"At Top 40 radio, 'All Fired Up' did extremely well in certain markets but didn't go all the way in others because it was perhaps a little too hard a sound. But that's OK, because she's a rock'n'roll star. Also, we knew we had 'Don't Walk Away,' which we wanted to be the second single. That's out now and it's much more mass appeal."
While reestablishing a base for Benatar in the album rock world, Glass says that Chrysalis has also place heavy emphasis on garnering support for Benatar within the retail community.
"There's tremendous confidence at retail and that's something we've definitely worked hard at," says Glass. "We initially went out with 270,000 albums-- (a) much lower (number) than her previous albums--and it's just gone gold. To me, that's more positive than shipping heavy. We've gotten a great reorder pattern, which shows peole want to buy the record."
Accompanied by her husband, guitarist Neil Geraldo, Benatar recently embarked on a nationwide tour in support of "Wide Awake In Dreamland." In addition to Geraldo (who also co-produced the album), the road band features longtime Benatar drummer Myron Grombacher, keyboardist Kevin Savigar, and bassist Fernando Saunders.
"It's been a long time since we played and I've really missed live concerts," says Benatar, clearly delighted to be back on the road.
Adds Glass, "We saw her sold-out show at Jones Beach (NY), where she said, 'I don't know why I've been away so long. I'm having the time of my life.' And for Pat, I really think the live act is her most important thing. I put album radio next then video."
When Benatar finishes her current road outing--the complete itinerary has not been finalized--she says that she and Geraldo would like to start work on another album. However, these days, music isn't everything for the couple. Already the proud parents of a 3-year-old daughter, they are keen to add another child to the family, according to Benatar.