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Between a Heart and a Rock Place: A Memoir

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For more than thirty years, Pat Benatar has been one of the most iconic women in rock music, with songs like "Heartbreaker," "Hit Me with Your Best Shot," and "Love Is a Battlefield" becoming anthems for multiple generations of fans. Now, in this intimate and uncompromising memoir, one of the bestselling female rock artists of all time shares the story of her extraordinary career, telling the truth about her life, her struggles, and how she won things—her way.

From her early days in the New York club scene of the 1970s to headlining sold-out arena tours, Benatar offers a fascinating account of a life spent behind the microphone. As the first female artist ever to be played on MTV, she speaks candidly about the realities of breaking into the boys' club of rock and roll at a time when people everywhere still believed a woman's only place in popular music was as a girlfriend, a groupie, or a sex symbol. And though her fiery edge and aggressive swagger produced instant success, they also led to fights over her image that would linger for years to come.

Going backstage and into the studio, Benatar sets the record straight about how her music evolved, illustrating the visionary role that her guitarist, producer, and eventual husband, Neil "Spyder" Giraldo, played in combining her classically trained voice with razor-sharp guitar to create her unique hard-rock sound. Together they formed a musical and spiritual bond that would last a lifetime, helping her stay true to herself while avoiding the pitfalls and excesses of rock stardom.

Written with the attitude and defiance that embodies Pat Benatar's music, Between a Heart and a Rock Place is a rock-and-roll story unlike any other, a remarkable tale of playing by your own rules, even if that means breaking a few of theirs.

247 pages, Hardcover

First published June 15, 2010

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About the author

Pat Benatar

10 books21 followers
Patricia Mae Andrzejewski (born January 10, 1953), known professionally as Pat Benatar, is an American singer-songwriter and four-time Grammy Award winner. She is a mezzo-soprano. She has had considerable commercial success, particularly in the United States and Canada. During the 1980s, Benatar had two RIAA-certified Multi-Platinum albums, five RIAA-certified Platinum albums, three RIAA-certified Gold albums, 17 Billboard chartings and 15 of them being Top 40 singles, including the Top 10 hits, "Hit Me with Your Best Shot", "Love Is a Battlefield", "We Belong" and "Invincible". Other popular singles include "Heartbreaker", "Treat Me Right", "Fire and Ice", "Promises in the Dark", "Shadows of the Night", and "All Fired Up". Benatar was one of the most heavily played artists in the early days of MTV. She was the first female artist to play on MTV, performing "You Better Run".

(from Wikipedia)

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 339 reviews
Profile Image for Lynx.
198 reviews79 followers
February 14, 2018
Singer-Songwriter. Business Woman. Rock ’n’ Roll Icon. Feminist. Trailblazer. Wife & Mother. Put all that together (and then some!) and you have this weeks muse, the incredible Pat Benatar!

Growing up Pat dreamed of being part of a dynamic rock ’n’ roll duo. Jagger & Richards, Plant & Page, she may have had the vocal chops but to make it to Rocks greatest heights she knew she needed a phenomenal guitarist by her side. It was while working on her first album, In the Heat of the Night, that Pat was introduced to Neil (Spyder) Giraldo. In Pat’s words “From he moment he stepped into the room our lives changed- first musically and later romantically and spiritually. Without Neil my career would not have happened, because I am not responsible for it, we are responsible for it, all of it. We were each others Muse.”

Together they worked hard to build a musical career that has spanned nearly 40 years and through it all Pat fought hard on the front lines battling sexism in an industry that had not yet seen a woman climb to such rock ’n’ roll heights. So thanks Pat, for all the bitchin’ tunes and making it a little easier for us girls trying to pave our own path in this rock ’n’ roll world!

I recently discussed Pat and Neil and their rockin' relationship on my podcast Muses & Stuff. Click the link or look us up on iTunes!
354 reviews121 followers
October 31, 2015
This is an amazing read. Pat Benatar talks of her life in and out of the rock and roll life style. Pat managed to be a Wife to the same man, Neil Garado, for thirtyone years, a Mother of two daughters, and still bring us faboulas music from her albums, Heart Breaker, in the heat of the night, Crimes of passion, Precious time, Get nervous, Live from earth, seven the hard way, Wide awake at dream land, true love a blues album, gravity's rainbow, In and Go.
I recommend this to all. She also managed to stay away from the drugs which are so prevalent in the music business.
Enjoy and Be Blessed.
Profile Image for Mahlon.
314 reviews125 followers
July 30, 2010
Pat Benatar is one of Rock's iconic female artists, but her road to the top was never easy. In her new autobiography, she opens up about the obstacles she faced and the roadblocks people put in her way. Benatar relates the constant battles she waged against the sexism that was rampant in the industry, and how she had to fight for creative control of her music, all while trying to balance the schedule of a constantly touring musician with a marriage and motherhood. It helped that Pat's husband guitarist Neil "Spyder" Giraldo is also a member of the band. At it's core "Between a Heart and a Rock Place" is really Pat and Spyder's musical journey together, and love for each other. Pat uses the book to give Spyder long overdue credit for his influence over the band's sound as well as the production of their recordings. Through it all, Benatar has managed to remain grounded and maintain her sense of humor, qualities that really shine through in the book. Even people who know nothing about Pat Benatar the musician will be a fan of Pat Benatar the person by the time they finish this book.
Profile Image for Pamela(AllHoney).
2,631 reviews355 followers
July 2, 2017
Autobiography of Pat Benatar.

I am a fan of Pat Benatar's and went to one of her concerts back in the 80's. One of my favorite concerts that I have been to. The story tells of her childhood in New York and how much of a "tomboy" she was and how her talent was "discovered". Her music training and so on. Then on to how she broke into the business. She spoke about every album made and her successes and failures. And the love of her life, Neil "Spyder" Giraldo.

I loved reading of her successes and admire her greatly for her accomplishments. I felt that the book concentrated heavily on her career and less on her personal life. That's okay. I understand the need to keep your private life private and she does give us a small look into that part. I really admired how she kept giving "Spyder" the recognition she felt he deserved.
Profile Image for Leah.
42 reviews
January 30, 2012
I think Pat Benatar is a rad lady and I've been looking forward to this one. I'm hoping that I'll come away from it thinking she's even radder than I already do. I'm only 20 pages in, so maybe it's too soon to say but so far it's kind of boring. It seems she's pretty much always had her head screwed on, had a good childhood, never abused substances...where will the drama come from?

UPDATE: Finished. Some of the writing was weak, some of it heavy-handed and hackneyed. For example, on 9/11: "It was one of those moments in everyone's life where you never forget where you were when it happened, like Pearl Harbor or Kennedy's assassination, pivotal moments in history that impact your life forever." (Really? I've never heard that one before.)

I recognize how important her partner "Spyder" was to her life and career, but frankly the name "Spyder" makes me bristle and there was a bit too much praise lavished upon him for my tastes. BUT, this lady broke a lot of ground. She was a "rocker"(I'd never use that word, but she does a lot) chick in a rocker dude's world. As such, she dealt with even more BS than women in rock deal with today, which I understand is still a hell of a lot. She made her mistakes but came out fighting and won.

There are no rock 'n roll cliches here. All the things I thought might make her dull - no trips to rehab or psychiatric institutions, a sense of purpose and a willingness to fight for herself and her art, etc. - are precisely what make her fascinating. Her love of and commitment to family and personal well-being is inspiring. So, yes, I came out thinking Ms Benatar is every bit as rad as I previously thought.

It's an easy read and an enjoyable one, particularly if you fancy yourself a kickass lady. (Also, I'd love to have a tea with her someday.)
Profile Image for Lennie.
330 reviews9 followers
September 15, 2011
In this memoir, Pat Benatar describes her 31-year career in the music industry. As part of the eighties rock movement she made strides for women by being one of the first solo female rockers. She had pure, clean vocals but her music was intense, hard-edged and guitar-driven which made the sound seem like it had attitude and aggression. It was pretty powerful and as a result she won four Grammys and sold millions of records. While this book addresses Benatar’s achievements as a professional singer and rock star, it’s not really a story about rock and roll but rather how one person can find the strength to persevere when faced with adversity. Such as the case when she discovered that the music business was still very much a man’s world and that they held all the power so she had to fight to make music the way she wanted to on her own terms. For her, a sexy image was never the focal point; she was all about the music so she led a rock and roll life following her passion and made no apologies.

Every time I hear a Pat Benatar song on the radio such as “Heartbreaker” or “Hit Me with Your Best Shot”, it always brings me back to my teenage years in the eighties. She was and always will be one of my favorite singers and I still enjoy attending her concerts whenever she happens to be here in Southern California playing at some venue. Since I’m a long-time fan, it was a real treat for me to read her memoir. She’s a great role-model for young women in the way that she stands up for herself and demands respect. I’m glad that she is still rockin’ after all these years!
Profile Image for Tracy.
671 reviews16 followers
July 11, 2014
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and dusting off my Pat Benatar music to listen to again after many years. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed “her” music, and never realized how much the music was really “theirs”.

I loved her writing voice, her ability to navigate the really tough music industry without needing rehab, her sweet love story, her strength in character to stand up to the good ole boys who wouldn’t give a girl the respect they’d give a guy. I’ve been in a “man’s job” and have been impacted by “the good ole boy network”, but nothing like she described. Good for her. I love that she conquered even more than I realized!

I think my favorite thing about this book is her unwaveringly positive attitude.

...look for me on the highway, singing along with their songs!....
Profile Image for Armand Rosamilia.
Author 238 books2,742 followers
May 11, 2019
Growing up I was never much of a Pat Benatar fan. I knew only the hits and loved her voice but my tastes tended to run much harder so I blew her off as just another pop artist. As I get older I realize I missed out on her peak years and some of the deeper cuts to her albums that were actually very guitar-oriented and heavy.

This book allowed me to re-imagine and relive the 80's I missed with her band, and it was always a band. Some great inside and stories in this book about the rough times she had due to the record company and her image. Loved it!
Profile Image for jess.
835 reviews71 followers
May 8, 2011
Note: I read this book in tandem with an audio book of Ricky Martin's memoir, Me. Fascinating, unintentional pair. I recommend this pairing for two "Other" perspectives on the commercial music industry.

Things I learned from this book:

Pat Benatar's music label steamrolled her over and over again until her contract expired, forcing albums from her every 9 months, demanding constant touring, micromanaging her image, her romantic relationships, her creative process, and denying her a fair share of the money made on her millions of records. Pat strongly identifies her music as a product of her band, with a lot of credit going to her husband/guitarist, Spyder. When speaking about creative decisions, like almost every song/album/recording/tour, she uses, "we" to refer to the band, not "I" like a solo artist. The image of her as a solo artist is a product of her label's manipulation. Also, her label cheapened her body of work by releasing "best of" comps every year after her contract expired. They owned the music & she had no say. The relationship between PB and her label/management kind of reads like a "what not to do" for a young female artist in the 80s.

Her music video, "You Better Run" was the second video ever shown on MTV. She wore her own clothes, as she usually did. The director was a prick, and she was angry during the whole shoot. That snarl is sincere.

Pat Benatar is a classically trained vocalist, which explains a lot about her music, but she claims that she cannot dance for the life of her. This came as quite a surprise to me. I have spent literally incalculable hours of my life dancing to her music, never mind the time I have spent perfecting her shoulder shimmy dance in the video for Love is a Battlefield. But, knowing this fact now, I have re-watched a lot of her videos and it does seem pretty obvious that fancy footwork is not her forte.

Pat is an outspoken, unabashed, unashamed feminist & has identified as a feminist for her entire life. This isn't really a surprise, considering her body of work and the groundbreaking trajectory of her career, but it is interesting to read her detailing 30+ years of sexism in the music industry, especially when she calls out specific men by name and lists dates that they treated her in an inappropriate manner. But this isn't just about airing dirty laundry - she also provides a thoughtful analysis of why things were the way they were, and how they have changed (a little, but not much). Her career spans from a time when the career advice she got was was "just act sexy" and her music label forced her to hide her first pregnancy so her fans would still think she was sexy, all the way up to her work with her own record label, inspired by Ani DiFranco (really?) and her dates on the Lilith Fair tour.

Pat Benatar really, really loves being a mom and considers her motherhood to be a feminist act. She battled infertility & had to give up on the idea of having kids several times (only to become pregnant after she gave up... twice). She fought her record label tooth & nail for room to be a good, present mother to her daughters.

Pat is really kind of a boring person - no drinking, no drugs, no smoking, no scandalous sexcapades. As a trained singer, she was always very protective of her voice, so she self-selected out of a lot of rockstar behavior. She has also been with the same dude for over thirty years. They're married. They have two kids. She seems like a pretty stable, with-it lady for someone who has so many grammys and millions of records sold. So this book avoids a lot of gossipy, trashy stories by virtue of her relative boringness, but I enjoyed it.

The weirdest, most awkward part was about the show she played the night of September 11, 2001. She struggled with the set list. So many of her songs employ violent/war imagery and she felt it was inappropriate to sing Love is a Battlefield or Hit Me with Your Best Shot. She ended up playing things like All Fired Up and Invincible. She says that she & the audience wept together, and it was therapeutic for all of them. I feel weird that she used Invincible in this context, but I remember the shocked emotions we all struggled with that evening, and maybe it was just a cathartic thing, not a 'Murrica the Great thing. Of course, she did have that whole post-9/11 "Christmas in America" thing.... She's a pop star. Let's move along.

Finally, and perhaps of the most personal importance to me, I learned that Pat Benatar recorded a song called Papa's Roses about Katherine Dunn's book Geek Love, which happens to be my favorite book. The intersection of these two magical forces is my dream come true, even if the song itself is a little emo.
Profile Image for Jeff.
49 reviews5 followers
June 19, 2010
In the interest of full disclosure I have to admit that I am a huge fan of Pat Benatar. I've been to dozens of her concerts, I have all her albums (some in LP and CD format), I have all of her videos and many old interviews and performances on tape or on DVD. I have even met her (and she and Neil are really as nice and down to earth as they come across in the book). Suffice to say that I have waited for this book for a long time.

I became a fan in the mid 80's so I was actually really starting to enjoy her music as her popularity started to decline, as far as radio airplay and album promotion was concerned. I think the first concert I attended was the Wide Awake in Dreamland tour. After reading the book I see that I was lucky to have caught it at all. It is a shame her later albums never caught on as much as they should have, at least outside her massive fan base.

I found the first and last sections of the book most interesting because those were the periods of her life that I knew the least about. Her difficulties with the record label throughout her career have already been well documented and you don't learn much more about her life at the height of her popularity than you could have gotten from VH-1's "Behind the Music". Unfortunately, most of the book covers that portion of her life. I would have liked the book to include more discussion about her music and about her later career. The chapter where she discusses the 9-11 attacks was particularly insightful and emotional and, to be honest, the book could have benefited from more stories as strong as that one.

If you are looking for a "sex, drugs, and rock and roll" memoir look elsewhere. If you're looking for insight into a woman who fought to do things her way in a man's profession and to be dedicated to her family at the same time, then this is the book to read.
Profile Image for Giovanni Gelati.
Author 31 books883 followers
July 1, 2010
Once I saw that this was going to be released I had to read it; I made this be my non- fiction novel for the month. I must admit to being a big fan ( I am part of the Benatar Fan Club) and collecting all the cassettes (Just to give you an idea of prices at that time, I think a Slurpee with the collector cups cost $.25). Getting that out of the way, the first thing I did when I cracked the book open was go to the picture area in the middle, I love that part of the non-fiction books. Then I read the cover of the book, here are some stats on Benatar’s accomplishments: Four Grammy Awards and more than twenty three million records sold, nineteen Top 40 singles. Not too shabby.
The novel itself is very insightful and it doesn’t seem if she holds much back. Patsi Bale Cox gets credited with the assist on the novel and the manner in which she narrates her life story is very smooth, clean and provocative. She was and is a force in rock and roll. I thoroughly enjoyed the way she described meeting her husband and partner Neil “ Spider” Giraldo. The connection and the music that they made are amazing. Having seen them in concert recently (I took my wife as an anniversary present), I was totally fascinated at the dynamic the two shared, and the way she describes their relationship only validated what we had witnessed. It was a total partnership and something to see and enjoy. Personally I have always maintained his influence in pop music since they hit the scene. His guitar playing and style are heard today. The novel for me was just not something that gave me insight into one of my favorite musicians but a validation of why I enjoyed them so much. They were and are much more than the music. When the lights go down they have substance and depth, not the shallowness we see in some of our alleged stars.
Between a Heart and a Rock Place is a great title. I was a little thrown off by it at first but it makes much more sense once you go through it. Fortunately now I have the music on my iPod , my cassettes are gone, but the music is timeless. Seeing these partners in concerts is nothing short of awesome. Pat Benatar can still bring it, and Neil Giraldo’s guitar play is as moving as ever. We saw them the last time they were in Red Bank, New Jersey and she said the fans were crazier now than when they were at their height. I was not one of the nuts trying to crash the stage; I had a great view and was content to enjoy and take in every minute of it, just like I did this novel. What is your favorite Benatar hit?
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Profile Image for Robin Warden.
33 reviews10 followers
January 8, 2011
Love Pat,but not the book. Time would have been better spent listening to her amazing catalog of music. On a positive note (and my humble opinion)the fact that this book was not very interesting can be attributed to the fact that she never got all caught up in the music-making machine of celebrity, she wasn't a party girl, but instead she put out consistently great music while maintaining her priorities of her marriage, kids, and family above all else. So I like her even more knowing that.
Profile Image for Jeanine.
104 reviews
May 11, 2012
Her story was fascinating, loved reading about her background and determination.
1,357 reviews32 followers
September 13, 2017
I had been a fan of Pat Benatar’s music in the 1980s, but I actually knew very little of the woman, except for her marriage to Neil Giraldo. BETWEEN A HEART AND A ROCK PLACE is a very refreshing rock memoir because Pat Benatar actually remembers it all! No endless stories of rehab, of drunken or drug-fuelled shenanigans, but a fabulous account of this brilliant singer’s career. Pat Benatar is your ordinary woman, albeit gorgeous and with a spectacular voice, and she is a woman of integrity who never forgot her blue collar roots and fought, and is still fighting for women in music. She is without false modesty without being pretentious: she knows what she’s got, she knows her strengths and weaknesses.

I loved being able to really have an inside look at the recording process, the song writing process, life on the road. I also had an insider’s look at how poorly women rockers can be treated, and the record company shall not remain nameless: Chrysalis was horrible. I cannot believe what Ms. Benatar endured, it is truly beyond comprehension. It’s a good thing Ms. Benatar is opinionated, because I can hardly imagine how even worse it could have been. Yes, it was an eye-opener.

BETWEEN A HEART AND A ROCK PLACE is very well written, very candid, with great photos, and it kept me up way past my bedtime. It’s a very enlightening book, and very entertaining as well. With all the romance novels around, it would take a rocker to best describe what is love and love at first sight, which Ms. Benatar does astonishingly well. Pat Benatar hit us with her best shot and it was great!
Profile Image for KrisAnne.
257 reviews6 followers
December 7, 2017
4 stars might be a little generous, but whatever, I use the star ratings in terms of my personal enjoyment and not always quality. The writing's actually pretty good! but some of the music biz stuff--and there is LOTS of it--reads like "I NOW HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPLAIN MYSELF THOROUGHLY" and won't be of interest to everyone. But she and the band are a pretty classic story of being jerked around by the music biz in the 80s and they've definitely lived through massive music biz revolution, sometimes getting on the train at the right time and sometimes missing it. And when they missed the mark, it was because of their label.

The reason I picked this up is that I was cruising through some Benatar a few years ago, like ya do, and thought "damn, why are there such integral rockin' guitar solos in every Pat Benatar song?" I read her wikipedia entry and was completely charmed to learn that she's been married to her musical partner in crime, guitarist/producer/etc Neil Giraldo, for like a billion years, and that's his guitar voice (and producer ear, often) you hear on all her tracks. Reading about their collaboration honestly made me wish I could find the same type of person in my life--not a romantic partner, but a musical collaborator who has the goods and complementary skills to push me in new and interesting directions. It's a total dream and I don't think people realize how rare it is.

Also now have Love is a Battlefield on a constant loop in my head. There are worse fates.
Profile Image for Morgan.
291 reviews60 followers
October 23, 2017
Pat has always been one of my favorite singers, and now she’s one of my favorite people. This book was a TREAT. She shares her journey through the music world, from trying to make it in Rock and Roll as a female to the transition to digital music. She is an inspiration. I can’t imagine the strength she had to stick to her beliefs and be the musician that she always wanted to be, to make her family her priority, and be herself. She is a true rock star. I also loved hearing how she met Frank Sinatra (FRANK!), and he called her doll face, or how she crossed paths with the Reagans and The former president thought she was saying “Cat” was her name, Nancy was a doll and corrected him and said Pat, P-A-T. I DIED. Her recounting of 9/11 made me cry.

I hope one day I can see Pat and Neil in concert, it is definitely a bucket list item for me. I love her so much. I loved learning more about her life, how the behind the scenes were in the music industry, especially as a woman in the seventies and eighties, and how they have stayed active in the music industry over the years. Not to mention a peek into how my favorite songs came about. I LOVED IT. (Also did I mention that their label HATED Love is a Battlefield?! What would we do without it!?)
Profile Image for Dave Donahoe.
200 reviews6 followers
August 25, 2021
I’m not really certain how this book could have sat on my shelf unread for so long. This is a brave, fearless and honest memoir from one of rock’s great performers. My wife and I are long time fans and there’s nothing better than leaning on the stage watching Spyder play guitar & listening to Pat sing. Their chemistry is unequaled. If you are not a Pat Benatar fan now, you will be after reading this book. The section on performing the night of 9/11 alone is worth the price of admission and it’s just a small part of this woman’s amazing journey. Don’t wait like I did; read this book next!
624 reviews22 followers
April 15, 2022
So I’ll start out saying I’m a huge fan girl of Pat Benatar and basically all 80s music. This book was an absolute joy and took me a lot longer to read than normal since I wanted to savor every word, but mostly because every time she mentioned a song, I would go to you tube and watch at least the official video and then a live version as well to see Spyder playing. I too enjoy guitar players so I can see why she thought him such a dreamboat. Anyway; she’s a really cool lady and this book was a complete nostalgic walk down memory lane to the 80s where life was simple. Brilliant.
Profile Image for Megan.
1,615 reviews59 followers
June 16, 2019
I really enjoyed learning about Pat Benatar, her career, and the rock industry that she helped change forever. I was not a big fan of the writing, but the information included, her views, and the description of her relationship with Neil Giraldo were definitely worth it. Worth reading. 3.5 stars
Profile Image for Seawood.
1,044 reviews
August 4, 2017
Good, easy to read autobiography. I'm not a particular fan (bit young and British to have caught the music at the time beyond general background/mainstay of classic rock compliations), but it was fascinating to see eg the rise of MTV, Lillith Fair, from her perspective as quite the trailblazer for women in the music business.
Profile Image for Louise.
1,622 reviews280 followers
December 24, 2012
I appreciate her music, but only know the chart buster songs. I'm more a fan of what she did. Along with Chrissy Hynde, but separately, Pat Benatar broke the male domination of hard rock. At this time, the business end of rock was almost thoroughly male, and the art form, itself, unabashedly accepted (and some say was characterized by) misogynistic themes.

This book is at its best when Benatar writes of her childhood and her rise to stardom. Other good parts include her experiences in the business of music. I wish she included more of this, but you get a glimpse as to how an artist, her manager and her attorney are not always a team. Benatar had to deal with sexism besides the usual business issues, but she writes more about the sexism which raised her ire the most. Later she realized she had business issues she should have pursued with equal passion.

Benatar's observations are not as insightful as I had hoped they would be. For instance, she raves about MTV, which while not giving female artists (other than established ones like Benatar and Hynde) exposure was, de facto, all white at the time. She goes to great lengths to credit her husband and this is the only clue the reader has to the dynamics of this marriage where the female has lasting star power.

There are gaps. What became of the vocal coach whom she let down to get married? How did she view the non-classical direction her special pupil took with her career?

The photos all look like promotional shots, many are posed. I would imagine a long term fan (the primary audience of this book) would have seen all or most of them. It would provide more dimension for the reader to see some from her childhood (maybe a Christmas dinner in that 24' X 24' childhood home or something from a high school performance) or something a little more personal of today (a family activity or Spyder's home studio).

This is an affirming story. Benatar has been wise with her life and career. Some say this book is boring. Benetar's life, though, isn't boring. She broke barriers and achieved but her modest presentation of her life, her career and herself in this book might make it seem so.
Profile Image for Wall-to-wall books - wendy.
933 reviews22 followers
January 16, 2016
I grew up listening to Pat Benatar. Her first single (Heartbreaker) was out before I finished High school. I bought my first Pat Benatar Album (Crimes of Passion) when I was just 19! I played it so much I am surprised the needle on my stereo didn't wear through to the other side. I knew all the words to all the songs (probably still do). I am proud to say, I still own that Album!

This was a real treat for me to read this wonderful book. It is a real "behind the scenes" look at the making of a rock band. But that's not all it is. It is also the love story between Pat and Neil "Spyder" Giraldo. How he came to play with the band, how they fell in love, broke up and got back together, and eventually got married and had two daughters, who are GORGEOUS by the way! It tells how the record company fought their marriage and how she had to hide her first pregnancy, because pregnant wasn't sexy.

But it doesn't stop there - it is also about all the sexism that went on in the 70's and 80's in the record industry. Pat shares her inside story of how it was to be a female rocker in a man's world.

"And Women? They weren't equals, they weren't rock stars, they weren't players. Women were girlfriends or groupies.
Early on, I saw a lot of these rules for what they were: bulls**t."

Pat Benatar is a Hero in the female rock industry, a strong woman who stood up to the "boys club" and finally got heard, and boy was she heard!

"Over the past 31 yrs. I have been a singer, a lover, a businesswoman, a daughter, a friend, a wife, a mother, and yes, sometimes even a Rockstar. In my journey I tried my best to honor all of these things. In the end, I suppose that's all that's really required."
148 reviews
May 10, 2011
This was a pretty well written rock autobiography, but when they do a "Behind the Music" on Pat Benatar, the only real drama will come in recounting her brave struggle against extreme dullness. I wouldn't say that the book was boring, or even that Pat Benatar's rise to fame was boring. But she seems to have set out deliberately to be the worlds' most boring rock star. No drugs, still married to the same guy for 30 years, two kids...I think I was hoping for a little more rock 'n' roll raunch. Oh, well. I still really like Pat Benatar's music and the book is a really interesting glimpse into the way the music industry operated for many years and how it has all changed in the last decade.

If I had a serious complaint about the book, it would be that it sometimes seems like she wrote it purely because she has an ax to grind about the (admittedly horrible) way she was treated by her record company at the beginning of her career. She sometimes tries a little too hard to make her and her husband seem like paragons of virtue and almost everyone at Chrysalis Records seem like sociopaths. Her tone gets a little holier-than-thou in places ("WE weren't raised like that but I guess some people just don't know how to behave" is a repeated refrain.)

Still, this is a good book about a great musician and I'd recommend it to any fan of 80s rock or any student of the recording industry.
30 reviews
August 2, 2010
In the early days of MTV, I have to admit that I fell for the gimmicky marketing ploys of the cable juggernaut. Like other young teenagers with evolving hormones, I was enamored with Pat Benatar - both as a musician and as a hot mama who knew how to rock.

Years later, Pat has penned a autobiography that discusses her travails as a pioneer for women rockers. Pat does discuss alot of those battles with her label, MTV, and her management about how much is enough when marketing sex. But, the book was mostly a love story about her and her husband/collaborater Neil Giraldo.

It was an easy read but not enough "dirt" for my liking when I read autobiographies. Pat even admits that she doesn't have a whole of dirt to tell...she never went to rehab or had extra-marital affairs, for instance, which is a far departure from other well-known musicians.

The most interesting stories were when she told of backgrounds of certain songs like the anti-child abuse "Hell is for Children" and how certain people completely misinterpreted her message. I would have liked to known the context of lyrics of her songs such as "Heartbreaker" or "All Fired Up" or "Anxiety."
July 7, 2017
In 2009 I bought front row tickets to see Pat Benatar with my mother for her birthday. Little did I know I would walk away that night with a new musical role model. I obviously knew the classic songs like "Love is a Battlefield" and "Heartbreaker," but I barely knew anything about Pat Benatar the performer. As a singer and aspiring music business professional, reading Benatar's biography shed a truthful light on what the business is really like behind closed doors. It's sad, but true, that most artists are simply viewed as dollar signs rather than the talented and hardworking people they are. I have only gained more respect for Pat Benatar as an artist as she found a way to keep herself grounded in the crazy world known as the music business. I will never forget how amazing she sang "Hell is for Children" on that stage, and this biography confirmed just how much she holds each song in her heart.

Many reviewers have commented on the writing style of this biography, but I personally viewed it as if Pat was sitting across from you telling her story. It's real and raw, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Profile Image for Jean.
360 reviews6 followers
March 10, 2011
This memoir was a fast and intriguing read. I've been on a female rock memoir kick. Pat Benatar presents a lucid story about her musical career and the trials she had to deal with as someone trying to find their way, themselves and dealing with sexism without being heavy handed. You do feel as if she is telling you what she thinks.

It is really eye opening how the music industry is great at manipulating their artists yet is it really for the commercial success that they supposedly say is the reason for their attitudes? Or, is it the ugly that is allowed to rear its ugly head. After reading Neon Angel and this memoir, I can't help but to feel disgust with how they treat their artists and particularly female artists.

Was it an interesting read? On a feminist level? Yes. On a guilty pleasure level? Yes. High brow literary masterpiece? No. It's a memoir. However it was one of the better popular culture memoirs I've read in awhile.
Profile Image for Joe Meyer.
12 reviews1 follower
May 12, 2012
As big as a fan that I am of her, the writing seemed too contrived. Patti Smith, she's not. There's a lot of cliched turn of phrases, and I guess I was expecting a lot of this. Don't know if it's because of her co-writer Patsi Bale Cox, or whether Pat herself is to blame for the prose.
With that being said, it was interesting to see her perspective on being an artist in the music industry. Just proves that a lot of the people that work for the recording industry don't know what the fuck they are doing, and why more and more artists are going the independent route.
It was a good buck well spent. :D
Profile Image for Angelique Stacy.
7 reviews1 follower
February 22, 2015
Short, sweet , but full on inspiration.

A quick inspiring read, I'd only wish it was longer. On the kindle the photograph section ,the pictures are tiny and don't enlarge so fans may want the print version of the book.
Pat Benatar does it her own way. A fascinating look at how women were treated by the music industry,and how the rise of the independent musician inspired her to take her music in her own hands and evolve. What makes this important read for up and coming female musicians is a feminist point of view and working well with others from someone who survived the old system intact.
Profile Image for Penni Pappas.
6 reviews
December 17, 2010
I bought this bio because Pat kept plugging it at the live show saying it will tell you about the old days of rock'n'roll. Did not live up to the promise. The only time Pat chucked while singing was because she was up the duff. Not quite the rock'n'roll bio she promised on stage, not rock'n'roll at all. And she tried to sell me online vitamins in the book - times are tough when the first record company you signed with owns the rights to all your songs and you wrote none of them. The one star I did give this bio was for the chapter on 9/11. Unintentionally hysterical.
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