I sometimes find myself lost - whether it be physically, emotionally, or spiritually. “I need to get back to basics,” I mutter to myself. Eventually I ask myself a question: Have I proselytized on the greatness of a certain pocket-sized Polish-American powerhouse lately? No, no I have not. I need to get right with the universe, so this week’s power poll is all about PAT F*CKIN BENATAR.
Benatar was reaching fame just as I was entering Junior High. She was the first female act to air on MTV. She is stunning, almost always dressed in black or red. She was even referenced in Fast Times at Ridgemont HIgh - if I recall, there was not one, but TWO students who dressed exactly like her. She was a big deal, and she always will be for people with a little taste and a love for Rock and Roll.
If you ever see her perform, which I highly recommend, two things will jump out at you. First - she is tiny, something like 5’. Secondly, and only after about two seconds...how does such a big sound come out of such a small person? It turns out she is opera-trained and has a four octave range. This woman belts. She absolutely owns the stage. In the clips below, I will tend to include live performances to highlight her amazing voice. I will throw in a couple of vintage videos, too, just so we can go back in time and revel in 80’s production values.
PUT PAT BENATAR IN THE HALL OF FAME.
1. Ohio State Buckeyes - You Better Run
First Place Votes: 11 High: 1 Low: 2 Last Week: 1
You better run, you better hide, you better leave from my side
This was the second video ever played on MTV. It was the first time many people saw Pat Benatar. It made an impression. You can see why.
Since this is one of the original videos, it is appropriate that it go to the team at the top of the pyramid - the Buckeyes. Ohio State is awfully good, and so is this tune. More than a few opponents are going to want to run and hide this year - like maybe the Cornhuskers this weekend.
2. Wisconsin Badgers - Hit Me With Your Best Shot
FPV: 4 High: 1 Low: 4 Last Week: 2
Well you’re a real tough cookie with a long history
Of breaking little hearts like the one in me
That’s okay, let’s see how you do it
Put up you dukes, let’s get down to it
This is my favorite Benatar song, and also the song that taught me barre chords. This song is catchy, ferocious, and pretty simple. Learn four chords and you, too, can make it work...on the guitar. It sounds like the Wisconsin offense looks - simple and powerful. Do not be fooled, there is a whole lot going on behind apparent simplicity. It is hard to find anyone who can sing this song well. As for the Wisconsin offense, it is hard to find people who can block that well.
3. Iowa Hawkeyes - I’m Gonna Follow You
High: 2 Low: 6 Last Week: 4
I’m gonna follow you, ‘till I wear you down
I’m gonna follow you, ‘cause this here’s my town
You don’t know these streets the way that I do (i do, I do)
You can’t turn it on and off the way that I do (i do, I do)
It is a Benatar trademark to turn gender politics on its head, which is done to perfection here.
Iowa is gonna follow some teams, like Wisconsin in the standings; and some things, like Nebraska news clippings, etc. See, it fits.
4. Penn State Nittany Lions - I Need A Lover (Cover)
High: 3 Low: 7 Last Week: 3
This seems like the best choice.
5. Michigan State Spartans - Fire And Ice
High: 3 Low: 6 Last Week: 6
Fire and ice
You come on like a flame
Then you turn a cold shoulder
Fire and ice
Fire and Ice is the story of the Spartan season. They come out ice cold in the opener, show an offense in week two, lose to Arizona State, then thump Northwestern on the road. I am not a Ph.D. specializing in pattern recognition, but things are not looking too good this weekend against Indiana. We will see if the pattern holds.
6. Michigan Wolverines - Heartbreaker
High: 5 Low: 12 Last Week: 5
You’re the right kind of sinner, to release my inner fantasy
The invincible winner, you know that you were born to be
This was Benatar’s first big hit, so it is appropriate that it is assigned to a traditional blue blood.
7. Minnesota Golden Gophers - Love Is A Battlefield
High: 6 Low: 10 Last Week: 8
You’re begging me to go
Then making me stay
Why do you hurt me so bad
It would help me to know
Do I stand in your way
Or am I the best thing you’ve had
This video is an exemplar of 1980’s overproduction. There is a bit of an homage to “Poppa Don’t Preach,” and a dance sequence, along with a few other 80’s tropes. A badass like Benatar deserved a better video...like one with her just singing.
I do not know what the Minnesota football team deserves, but they are undefeated. Kudos on that. Are they good or bad? Will they keep winning, or will mediocre play catch up with them? I am not sure, but the B1G is a battlefield. It will be revealed unto us in the fullness of time.
8. Maryland Terrapins - Invincible
High: 7 Low: 11 Last Week: 10
We can’t afford to be innocent
Stand up and face the enemy
It’s a do or die situation
We will be invincible
It is time for Maryland to build up that confidence again. There is a fine chance to get back on the right foot against Penn State. Who knows, the loss to Temple might have lulled the Nittany Lions into complacency. That will be a fun game to watch. Will there be a handshake?
9. Nebraska Cornhuskers - Promises In The Dark
High: 7 Low: 12 Last Week: 7
Blinded by passion, you foolishly let someone in
All the warnings went off in your head
Still you had to give in
To Husker fans: So many of us want to believe so badly, that when things do not immediately go the way we want, we feel betrayed. It is early yet. Come on.
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” - Some Limey
10. Indiana Hoosiers - Precious Time
High: 7 Low: 11 Last Week: 11
I don’t wanna argue about who is the victim
’Cause maybe we both got burned
I don’t wanna talk about who is the traitor
’Cause both of our loyalties turned
I don’t wanna fight about who is the liar
’Cause there’s too many ways to lie
There are so many ways that Indiana football burns its fans. They play well against Directional Illinois and UConn, then....we’ll see. One thing is certain, they will certainly scare Nebraska in Lincoln in a few weeks.
11. Northwestern Wildcats - Shadows Of The Night
High: 9 Low: 13 Last Week: 9
I said, you can’t hide on the inside
All the pain you’ve ever felt
Ransom my heart, but baby don’t look back
’Cause we got nobody else
Listen to her sing this live, it is impressive.
Not pictured is the original video, which was memorable. Benatar starts off as a Rosie the Riveter character, the video then turns into a Dirty Dozen fantasy sequence. It features Judge Reinhold, and what might be the late Bill Paxton’s first on-screen role as a pencil necked Nazi. Find it, if you can.
Northwestern’s offense seems inept, and it appears that they’ve “got nobody else.” It could be a long year if you cannot score in this conference, even if your defense is above average.
12. Purdue Boilermakers - Anxiety
Last Place Votes: 1 High: 3 Low: 14 Last Week: 12
I feel a little shaky, I can’t control my nerves
I know you think I’m fakin’, but can’t you feel the curves?
I swear to you I feel it, it scares me half to death
It gathers in my throat and it gathers up my breath
Anxiety levels have to be peaking in West Lafayette. Injuries have taken their toll, and what seemed like a promising campaign is on a knife edge. There will be a big game with Minnesota this Saturday.
13. Illinois Fighting Illini - We Belong
LPV: 2 High: 3 Low: 14 Last Week: 13
Many times I tried to tell you
Many times I cried alone
Always I’m surprised how well you cut my feelings to the bone
Don’t want to leave you really
I’ve invested too much time to give you up that easy
There were probably some tears among the Illini faithful this week. Good things have a way of NOT happening in Chambana. But, sure enough...they belong.
On that note...
14. Rutgers Scarlet Knights - Find Another Fool
LPV: 12 High: 12 Low: 14 Last Week: 14
Rutgers lost to Boston College at home, 30-16.
Rutgers is not worthy of Benatar. They’ll take Quarterflash and like it.
I hope you enjoyed a little bit of 80’s nostalgia.