[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:
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It’s odd that female artists like Aretha Franklin, Abba, Donna Summer and Madonna are in when Pat Benatar isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I feel that pop, disco, and pop rock artists from the Rogk era do belong in RRHOF. It’s why I was happy to see the aforementioned artists along with Ararat Wind and Fire, The Bee Gees and Michael Jackson inducted . But I have a problem when people complain that Janet Jackson is long overdue, when it took the RRHOF 47 years after her first hit to induct Linda Ronstadt, the 1970s Queen of Rock 2years ago. They waited so long that she can no longer sing. It’s no wonder Ronstadt skipped the ceremony. And we’re still waiting for solo performers like Cher, Carly Simon, Carole King , Joan Armatrading, Bette Midler, Tina Turner, Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow and Pat Benatar to be inducted. RRHOF better skate fast for these ladies.
I agree. As a matter of fact, I have written about most of the ladies you mention. I plan on writing about Tina Turner’s solo career pretty soon, as she is an obvious and glaring omission and an artist whose credibility and importance are largely unquestioned. The only caveat I would give about your list is with Sheryl Crow, who I will probably write about at some point in 2019 or so, because much of her early career counted as backing for Michael Jackson and Don Henley, and the RRHOF has been *very* slow to induct sidemen/sidewomen. Consider, after all, that Johny B. Goode is still not in.
list of the passed over:
Sonny & Cher
Diana Ross solo
Tina Turner solo
The Go God
Stevie Nicks solo
And the superb Par Benatar (WTF?)
And singers from other genres with rock influence:
Dolly apart on and Emmylou Harris
Most of the first list I have either written about and published here or is on schedule to be published. Needless to say, I think you have good taste :p.
Bottom line on why Pat Benatar should be in- One of the GREATEST vocalists in the history of popular music. Look no further than the bridge on “Fire and Ice”
She is a great vocalist, and certainly one of the more notable women in rock in the 1980’s especially.
The case for Pat not belonging in the RARHOF should also be applied to a woman that did make the it – Joan Jett. Every single reason why the author says Pat shouldn’t be in can be applied to Joan Jett. I’m not saying Joan Jett shouldn’t be in; I’m saying the reason why Pat Benatar shouldn’t be in is wrong.
Yes, I think she should be in; she certainly has a vastly better resume than Joan Jett did.
One of my favorite English bands of all time…..the Moody Blues are finally being inducted this year. Way over due and it drives me batty that Pat Benatar hasn’t been inducted yet. What? The idiots who make these decisions are waiting until she’s dead before they act? The same with Carly Simon and Carole King. The fact that Madonna, no offense, is in but Pat isn’t just makes me scratch my head.
I don’t understand either. In general, though, 80’s rock is heavily underrepresented in the RRHOF, and Pat Benatar suffers heavily from that neglect.
Female greats who need to be inducted: Carole King performer (not just song writer) Stevie Nicks, Tina Turner, Diana Ross (solo careers) Chic, Bette Midler, Sonny & Cher, The Go-Gos, Dionne Warwick, The Bangles, Joan Armatrading, Helen Reddy, Olivia Newton/John, Carly Simon, and Pat Benatar…all not in. But rap artists are, Aretha Franklin is, Madonna and Run DMC (I’m glad they’re in, but they’re not rock or pop rock like the others mentioned above). The ladies above deserve to be in before other artists who came much later.
RRHOF waited so long that Donna Summer died a year before they finally inducted her. And the great Linda Ronstadt whose first hit was in 1967, was finally inducted a few years ago. Tragic though that RRHOF took so long to induct her because she could no longer sing at that point because of Parkinson’s Disease. No wonder she blew off attending her own induction.
I’ve written about many of these women who have not been inducted, and many others,. I have Cher on her solo career as well as with Sonny & Cher as a worthy induction as well. I’m not really sure why the RRHOF has been so reluctant to induct obviously worthy women.
Pat must have offended Jann Wenner. The same way that her forbearers like Cher, Carly Simon, Bette Midler, Dionne Warwick, Karen Carpenter, Olivia Newton-John, Cyndi Lauper, Carol King, Dolly Parton, Tina Turner (solo career) all influential relevant artists with long running careers, and other Rock and Pop female superstars who also haven’t even been nominated. Linda Ronstadt, The 1970s belter version to Par Benatar’s 1980s role, was not inducted until 47 years after her first hit in the mid 1960s. It took the RRHOF so long to induct her that Linda couldn’t even sing by that point. No wonder she blew the induction ceremony off. Donna Summer wasn’t inducted until she was dead. I sure hope Pat is alive and singing when she is finally inducted. It’s crazy these women haven’t been already.
I’m just having a #metoo moment here. Is it possible than Jan Wenner was offended by these women because he wanted something from them that they were unwilling to give? It seems rather striking that so few women are nominated for the RRHOF, and especially women whose musical ability and influence are obvious. If there is not simple sexism at stake, perhaps there is some lingering resentment that these proud women didn’t put out.
Pat Benatar, Carly Simon, Tina Turner, Cher, Cyndi Lauper, Eurythmics, Diana Ross, Olivia Newton-John, the Runaways, Suzi Quattro , Helen Reddy, Dolly Parton, Emmy Lou Harris, Sheryl Crow, Courtney Love, Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield, Petulant Clark, LuLu. Women still waiting forvRock n Roll Hall of Fame induction
Yes, there are many you mention, most of which I have written about and some of which I will be writing about in the future. The RRHOF has done a terrible job of inducting worthy women.
Pat Benatar, Carly Simon, The Go-Go’s, Bette Midler, Sheryl Crow, The Pointer Sisters, Emmylou Harris, Tina Turner (solo), Cher, Courtney Love, Diana Ross (solo), The Runaways, Olivia Newton-John, Joan Armatrading, Dolly Parton, The Bangles, Patty Smyth, The Eurythmics, Roseanne Cash,?Chic- all are not in the RRHOF.
I have written about most of these groups; I should be doing a Diana Ross solo before too long, and within a couple of months my Sheryl Crow article will be out. Suffice it to say that there are many women and female groups that are worthy of induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame that are not in. Think of how long it took for Janet Jackson to be inducted. Barbra Streisand still isn’t inducted despite her immense and longterm popularity, and neither are the divas of the late 80’s and early 90’s like Celine Dion and Mariah Carey.
I am sorry to see Pat Benatar not get in this year in spite of getting the second largest fan votes. I would have picked her over Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Notorious B.I.G., and even T.Rex (although I am happy T.Rex got in).
Maybe next year.
Maybe next year; I think she has a really good chance of making it at some point, but I wonder if the RRHOF doesn’t want to admit too many women in at once. Last year we got Janet, and this year we got Whitney, so it looks like the more obvious female snubs are getting their shot, one at a time.
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