Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Thank You Benny Mardones

This is Benny Mardones
I know nothing about Benny Mardones. Nothing. I don't know any albums. I don't know if he still makes music. I don't know if he ever was a member of a band. Until recently, I had no idea what he looks like. And I don't know any of his songs. Except, that is, for one.

That song is "Into the Night." It originally came out in 1980 but was rereleased in 1989. Both times it made the charts; one of the few times a single song had made the charts for the same recording. It happened with the Righteous Brothers and their song "Unchained Melody" and also Chubby Checkers made the charts twice with "The Twist." So this is quite a feat for Mr. Mardones.

I first heard "Into the Night" sometime in the early 80s. And the thing that I remember about hearing the song for the first time was that I thought it was Steve Perry. At that time, I was a huge Journey fan (and, frankly, still like the band an awful lot. Old Journey. Not the new Journey) and believed "Into the Night" was either a new Journey song I hadn't heard or solo Steve Perry. I quickly discovered that it was not a new new Steve Perry song; I would have to wait a couple of years for "Oh Sherrie." And it wasn't Journey.

It was some dude named Benny.

Nonetheless, I bought the 45. Played it for awhile and put it away. Occasionally, I hear the song on the radio and still think to myself, "Man, that guy sounds like Steve Perry." And then I feel sorry for Benny Mardones. I think I should probably know more about him.

I still have that 45. I dusted it off recently and placed it on the turntable after spending a ridiculously long time looking for one of those annoying 45 adapters. Through the crackle and the pops of the old 45, "Into the Night" reignited memories that only vinyl can. Sure, music has a tremendous ability to spark memories---but music played on its original source with the tactile experience of pulling the record from the sleeve and gently placing it on the turntable, perhaps wiping away the dust. Lifting the tone arm and setting it gently on the shiny rim of the jet black vinyl. Hearing the initial crackle and pop as the needle sets itself into the groove. That's a complete sensory experience that goes beyond the song. And it is a powerful memory reclaimer.

So there I was, a man in my 40s, sitting in my basement and feeling again like a 14 year old kid.  And that was cool.

Thank you Benny Mardones. Whoever you are.



This video features Benny Mardones and the song "Into the Night." Check out that tie. I had that tie in high school.

"Into the Night" is now streaming on The Vinyl Voyage from the original 45.


1 comment:

  1. Check out Benny Mardones at www.bennymardones.com, follow him on Twitter and Blip.FM...and while you're at it, check out his 3 pages on Facebook...most importantly, drop by his Official Fan Page https://www.facebook.com/pages/bennymardones/107661802586030
    Benny currently resides in Playa del Rey, California but considers Syracuse, NY his "home"...and he still performs there several times each year. Benny has written and record dozens of songs.
    He is known as "The Voice" and has the pipes to prove why!

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