Born Patricia Andrzejewski in Brooklyn, N.Y., 45-year-old Pat
Benatar began her musical career on a classical path, briefly
training at the internationally acclaimed Juilliard School of Music at the
tender age of 17. Shortly after her emancipating 18th birthday, she married
her high school sweetheart, Dennis Benatar, an Army man stationed in
Richmond, Va. In Richmond, Pat Benatar worked as a
bank clerk and a singing waitress before leaving for Manhattan and a stint
on the cabaret scene.
In the course of her cabaret wanderings, she met up with Rick Newman,
owner of the Catch a Rising Star club, who would become her manager.
By 1978, she'd swapped her crooning for harder-edged vocals and inked a deal at
Chrysalis Records. Fronting a band composed of guitarist and future
husband Neil Giraldo, partner in axe Scott St. Clair Sheets, bassist
Roger Capps and skinster Glen Alexander Hamilton, Benatar released her
first album, In the Heat of the Night, in 1979. The album featured the
threatening "Heartbreaker," a song that crept up as far as #23 on the stateside
The next five years would see Benatar release five
platinum albums and a slew of hit singles. Having divorced Dennis Benatar, she
promoted Giraldo from guitarist to husband in 1982 on the Hawaiian island of
Maui. From 1981-84, Benatar racked up the brass at the Grammy Awards,
winning best female rock vocal performance each year.
Her hit songs include "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," "Treat Me
Right," "Promises in the Dark" and the bullet-riddled love ballad, "Love is
Other birthdays: Aynsley Dunbar (Jefferson Starship), 52; Donald Fagen (Steely Dan), 50; Shawn Colvin, 40; Curt Kirkwood (Meat Puppets), 39; Aerle Taree (Arrested Development), 25; and Chris
Smith (Kris Kross), 19.