[Note: Pat Benatar was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2022.]
Who was the first woman to have her video shown on MTV? The answer is, perhaps surprisingly, Pat Benatar. Although I have long been a fan of this musician, from my childhood, it is a great surprise that she has not been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I was reminded of this fact by reminder of another fan who wondered why I had never even written about it, and I was a bit surprised that I had overlooked her thus far. It seems quite strange that someone who looked exactly like what one would expect a rock star to look like (see, for example, the entertaining music video to the Corrs’ lovely song “Would You Be Happier?”), and who had a large number of hit albums and singles that remain vitally important in the rock music catalog of the late 1970’s and 1980’s, would be overlooked, but this seems to be a common problem for Pat Benatar, who was born as Patricia Mae Andrzejewski in Brooklyn, New York in the early 1950’s . Such a talented singer and musician deserves a far better fate than to be overlooked as she often has before.
Why Pat Benatar Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
The second music video shown on MTV ever was “You Better Run.” It wasn’t her last music video to be shown on that network, not by a long shot. During her career, Pat Benatar has had two multi-platinum albums, five platinum albums, and three additional gold albums in the United States, along with 17 top 40 hit singles, including four top ten hits. Her songs like “Heartbreaker,” “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “Treat Me Right,” “Shadows Of The Night,” “Love Is A Battlefield,” “We Belonging,” and “Invincible” remain staples in the rock music catalog, and her music shows a great deal of depth relating to issues of gender politics (“Sex As A Weapon”) and psychology (“Anxiety (Get Nervous)”) as well. Her first eight studio/live albums all went at least gold : In The Heat Of The Night, Crimes Of Passion, Precious Time, Get Nervous, Live From Earth, Tropico, Seven The Hard Way, and Wide Awake In Dreamland, all released between 1979 and 1988, a stellar record of success during a time of disposable music trends. Her music has held up well, especially given her era, and she remains an active and well-appreciated musician on tour even though if her album releases have been infrequent in recent years. Not only does Pat Benatar have a strong record from her own music, but she has also served as an inspiration for many other women, whether it is in terms of the choreography of her music videos, her tough girl image, or her desire to be respected within her field. Not even morning sickness, for example, kept her from creating the hauntingly beautiful video for my favorite song of hers, the gorgeous “We Belong.” Pat Benatar surely belongs in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.
Why Pat Benatar Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
There is no good reason why she isn’t, yet there are likely a few bad ones. For one, Pat Benatar looked like a far tougher woman than she sang in songs  mostly crafted by well-regarded songwriters. Her music was solid pop rock, with a hint of the theatricality that she brought from her early efforts, but she looked like a hard rock musician and so the juxtaposition is probably a bit jarring for some. For another, Pat Benatar happens to be both a prominent female rock musician  as well as an artist from the 1980’s, and neither of these has tended to help an act in their efforts at induction. Whatever the reason is, it’s not good enough.
Verdict: Put her in. She’s a very worthy inductee, and would put on a great show wherever it took place.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: