Steve Recommends: “Into the Night” by Benny Mardones

I’ve been obsessed with Yacht Rock lately, ever since SiriusXM brought back the Yacht Rock (channel 70!) channel. I’ve been unable to change the station, no matter how many times they play “How Much I Feel” by Ambrosia. I reach my hand up to switch over to Ozzy’s Boneyard or Rock the Bells and it’s like there’s some magnetic current flinging my arm back to the steering wheel.

And when I’m at home or at work, I find myself lost in a YouTube vortex, having subscribed to four different channels featuring the softest rock hits of the 70s and 80s. And that is how I found (refound) this 1980 music video gem.

I can’t say I remember Benny Mardones, but I do remember this song, which is getting a rebirth, at least in my car, via satellite radio. Part of me (a large part) wishes I didn’t find this video, as it changes my associations with it, forever. But at the same time….

….Holy sheep-dung is this video creepy! It’s not enough that Benny, who looks like the long-lost twin of Aldo Nova (bonus points for those who get this reference without the internet), starts the song off with the line: “She’s just 16 years old…leave her alone, they say.” Then the video shows Benny approaching the titular girl’s father, trying to convince him to let him take his daughter out “as friends,” before slinking around the back of the house and spying on his young obsession through the bedroom window.

Finally, after sneaking into her room, he rolls out a magic carpet and proceeds to fly this strangely expressionless girl “into the night” never mind a jacket or a seat belt. Especially, since, via some horribly amateurish early 80s green-screen work, the two lovebirds are getting quite close to the pointy tip of the Statue of Liberty. And then… they make out — right above freeway traffic (he’s so romantic!) — not to mention that it seems to be a pretty windy night based on how shaky the camera is.

But clearly there’s no denying the power of Benny’s striped black and white, sleeveless shirt and almost sculpted muscles. The exact qualities all teenage girls found hard to resist, back in the early 80s. I mean, it’s a proven fact that bringing a girl a dirty brown carpet instead of flowers is impossible to resist!

As for the song, it’s mostly forgettable, though Benny’s enthusiastic, if not borderline histrionic, vocals keep the intensity at a nice smooth boil. A worthy entree in the Yacht Rock canon.

(Song recommendation by Steve Goldberg)

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