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Biographies: Benny Mardones

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Reviewer: Greenway88

Benny Mardones exploded onto the music scene in 1980 and was quickly nicknamed "The Voice." A title earned because of his incredible 3 ˝ octave range, as well as his soulful and passionate performance of Into The Night, a Grammy-nominated song that has become a radio classic across the country, topping the charts twice, becoming one of the most frequently played tunes in the history of the music business.

Benny was born in Cleveland and raised in Savage, Maryland. His mother, and accomplished singer in her own right, exposed Benny to all kinds of music from opera to rock and roll. Benny was introduced to Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison from his mother’s record collection, both of whom he would come to idolize and meet as an adult.

As a teenager, Benny formed his first group and began singing at local high schools and college gigs in the Maryland area. He had a natural flair for writing music and was hired as a staff writer for CBS Music, Inc. It was during this time that he met Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison, and for a time, Benny had the opportunity to travel on tour with Roy. Benny credits both Roy and Elvis as being the key factors in encouraging him to pursue a music career of his own.

Together with producer and friend Barry Mraz (Styx, Ohio Players), Benny recorded Into The Night, which became a number one record on both CHR and AC charts. The song was nominated for a Grammy and it looked as though Benny was on his way to establishing himself as a music legend.

With a number one charted record under his belt, Benny’s professional career was at an all time high. However, Benny’s personal life was at an all time low. A series of tragedies overshadowed what should have been the most emotionally-promising time of Benny’s life. Tragedies such as the untimely death of his producer and mentor, Barry Mraz, coupled with the loss of a close loved one, left Benny emotionally paralyzed. Benny walked over to the dark side of rock and roll and disappeared.

He discontinued all concert performances, all recordings, and all appearances. To the rest of the world, Benny Mardones had walked off the face of the earth. To his closest friends and associates, Benny had sunk into an emotional coma. For a time Benny traveled throughout the United States and Europe, never settling in anyone place, in search of the peace that one only finds from within.

For a while, he settled in upstate New York in an attempt to get back on his feet. There, for the first time in several years, Benny, with his young son Michael Everett by his side, began to play , write and sing again. In almost a decade of darkness, his son would be the light at the end of the tunnel.

In 1989, a major radio station was running a segment entitled,"Where Are They Now?" The most overwhelming popular question was, "Whatever happened to the guy who sang Into The Night? Throughout the recording industry and the music underground, people were asking, "Where is Benny Mardones?"

Scott Shannon, then program director for Pirate Radio in Los Angeles, added Into The Night to its play list. The domino effect took place across the country, and once again Into the Night had reached chart status, this time without stock in the marketplace, without a record label backing the song, and without the singers known whereabouts. On its own merits, Into The Night had once again established itself as the most requested record on radio.

In an effort to escape his demons, Benny had settled in Paris with his son, working in local cafes as a pianist and singer. During one of his performance, Andy Frances, who was then on tour with and part of the management team of David Bowie, recognized Benny and approached him about the resurgence of Into The Night taking place in the United States.

After an almost five-hour discussion, and a promise to oversee his career, Andy persuaded a reluctant Benny to return to America. Not long after his return, Benny was asked by Barbara Orbison to appear on a Showtime tribute to Roy, with such luminaries as Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, Johnny Cash, K.D. Lang, and others. Ironically, Elvis Presley’s band was the house band for the evening. When Benny was introduced and called to the stage to sing Running Scared, few people know who Benny was. However, at the conclusion of the song, Benny received a standing ovation.

This appearance came at a critical time in Benny’s life. Not only was he paying tribute to a dear friend, but he was finding the strength to re-evaluate his own life, to pull himself from the depths of despair and rejoin the living through his music.

This appearance, together with the resurgence of Into The Night, Motivated benny to put his life story to music. Benny has exorcized the demons in his past, and has put the tragedies of his life in perspective. Benny is back to reclaim the accolades that he walked away from at the peak of his career.

Together with Grammy award winning producer, Michael Lloyd, Benny has recorded a new CD project on Curb Records, which can be best described as an open diary of the past several years of Benny’s life. Dream Baby , the first single, recalls the passion and romance of its predecessor, Into The Night. It’s All In The Game, a duet, stems from a rainy evening when Benny is describing the dark moments in his life to a friend. While looking out at the rain, the friend matter-of-factly responded "many a tear has to fall." Thus, the idea to remake the Tommy Edward’s classic was born. Running scared is Benny’s homage to his late friend, Roy Orbison, for inspiring him not only once, but twice in his career. Running Scared came to symbolize for Benny, his lost years.

SOURCE: Benny Mardones.net

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