Pat Benatar, 9/11 and American Rock History


Don’t You Mess Around With Pat Benatar!

by Johnny Punish

They say that greatness is consistency over time. If that’s the criteria, consider Pat Benatar one of the greatest rockers of all time!

Arguably the greatest rock goddess in history, she has been rocking for more than 30 years now and is the inspiration for so many new artists in the music world. Personally, she is one of my all-time favorite rockers. Recently she wrote a book on her life. And I just had to read and share it with ya.

I first went to go see Pat Benatar live back in 1980 just as her 2nd uber-successful “Crimes of Passion” record was coming out. A super fan of her first record “In The Heat Of The Night“, I was ready to see this persona live and figure out what was going on. She was killing it on the charts and my high school girlfriend was dressing like her! What was up?

Well, long story short, I was able to see Benatar live 3 times that year and have been a super fan ever since. So when I heard she wrote a book about her career, well, naturally, I had to read it. More, I was hoping to get more insight into the influence her guitar player husband Neil “Spyder” Giraldo, who is my all-time favorite guitar player, had on her career. Boy, she came through and much more!

First, Pat Benatar has been one of the most iconic women in rock music, with songs like “Heartbreaker“, “Hit Me with Your Best Shot“, “Invincible“, Hell Is For Children“, and “Love Is a Battlefield” becoming anthems for multiple generations of fans even leading a fashion craze among high schoolers back in the early 80s.

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.

Benatar Makes MTV History

As the first female artist and rocker ever played on MTV, Benatar tells us how angry she was that day because this new thing called a video shoot was strange and the director did not understand that she was a rocker, not a model. She had a mad attitude that day and it showed on the video making it one of the greatest music videos to ever be made in rock history.

Watch the first rocker video to ever appear on MTV. It made Benatar famous!

Benatar Beats Up Boys Club

In the book, Benatar 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.

In the book, 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 a 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.

Hell Is For Children, Benatar’s Most Important Social Song

Private Benatar Versus Public Benatar

The majority of Benatar’s story has been kept OUT  of the public eye and has remained private.  So for a fan like me, it is greatly appreciated that Benatar opens up a bit of that window and has decided to share her story.

Of course, we love her so we want her to protect the most sacred of intimate stories for her family and her; which I am sure she did. But to open that window for us just a bit is a rock music gift.

Reading this book has been pure fun and joy. Hearing stories of Brooklyn and Long Island brings back memories of a time long gone. Her chance meeting with Frank Sinatra? So interesting!

What also struck me was her slight potty street mouth in telling those who wronged her to “fu$k off”.  I loved it! Pat demonstrates no fear and truth in letting us know that she is a real tuffy.

Now, I don’t recall her ever being so direct in public. She’s always been courteous, civil, and polite in public; a lady. But behind the scenes, the gloves come off and the street tuffs got punched in the nose!

This NYC chick pulls no punches! Would you expect anything from a fiery rock legend?  So for me, I was happy to hear that Pat was a regular Joe and not some created corporate character.  Shrewd enough to be a long-term commercial success and play the game yet subtle enough to leverage herself into creating the art she wanted. Considering all the obstacles, she found the perfect mix and got it right! She’s a monster success!

Benatar on 9/11

Finally, what really got me was her 9/11 experience.

While Benatar explains that she is privately very political, she has NEVER expressed her beliefs in public. She has chosen to keep those issues private for her as a voting American citizen. However, on 9/11, politics knocked on her door and she answered; not so much with some left or right-wing point of view but as a human we’ve-all-been-attacked point of view.

As she explains in the book, on that fateful day she was to play a concert. She struggled back and forth with the promoter to cancel the gig. She was so angry like all of us. She could not imagine playing at a concert after what happened that day. But her fans spoke up. They wanted to be there with her and share.

They needed her; somewhere to go and share their disbelief and shock. Pat eloquently describes the emotional struggle to go on and speak with fans; fellow Americans was a heartfelt ode to what it truly means to be an American. From that experience, she wrote the lovely touching Christmas In America; a song dedicated to America!

You gotta read the book to get the whole story! It will take you back and help you remember why we all fight every day for freedom, liberty, and justice not only here in America but around the world for every human being! Pat reminds us that being an American is a very special honor and we ought to always stay with each other and love one another.

Benatar: An American Rock Legend

Benatar is an American legend and continues to be an inspiration to so many artists today. She continues to rock out at concerts for fans during the summer months and retreats to normal life during the “off-season”. Heck, my 27-year-old daughter just went to see her play a few months ago and said “That’s the best concert I have ever seen”.

For those that are interested in American music history, you gotta read this book and feel the attitude; the defiance that embodies Benatar’s music. Between a Heart and a Rock Place: A Memoir is a rock-and-roll story for the ages; a remarkable tale of playing by your own rules and making commercial and artistic success in a world gone mad.


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Johnny Punish founded VT in 2004.  After 20 years at the helm, he "retired" from the daily operations in late 2023 passing the ball over to the new owner of VT, Chief Justin Time.   He now writes for VT as "Writer Emeritus".  He is also a global citizen eco-activist, visionary, musician, artist, entertainer, businessman, investor, life coach, podcast host, and syndicated columnist.   Punish is an ethnically cleansed Palestinian-American whose maternal family was evicted from their home in Haifa, Palestine in 1948 by Irgun; a Euro-Zionist Settler Terrorist Group.  The family became part of the over 1,000,000 Palestinians who are Al-Nakba refugees (The Catastrophe).  The family fled to Beirut Lebanon for 13 years eventually emigrating to the USA in 1961 via a Brasilian passport obtained by his Palestinian Brasilian-born grandmother (In the early 1900s, the family was sent to Sao Paolo Brasil as guest workers in the mining industry.  Punish's father is Italian-American from New York City.  Punish's paternal great-grandparents emigrated to the USA from Naples Italy and Marineo in Sicily in the 1890s.  Punish was born in the Bronx, New York in 1963. Punish was educated at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (1980-81) and California State University Fullerton (1981-1984) with studies in accounting and business. Before the "internets" had been invented, he owned and ran (5) national newspapers in the United States of America from 1987-1998.  From 2004 to 2023, he owned and managed VT Foreign Policy retiring at the end of 2023. Punish is also a recording artist.  He has over 100 original songs written. He records and produces music. A member of ASCAP, Punish has several songs placed in feature films. His music is promoted worldwide and played on all digital networks and net radio. He is also the founder and owner of  Global Thinkers, a freedom media that helps free thinkers create real wealth. Resources: Facebook -  YouTube - Apple Music - SoundCloud - Spotify -  X (Twitter) Read Johnny's Full Bio at >>>