A Bit of a Classic: Pat Benatar – Love Is A Battlefield (1983)

pat benatar love is a battlefield

In A Bit of a Classic, A Bit of Pop Music takes you back in time to relive a pop release we definitely should not forget about. Today, the 12th of September 2018, it is exactly 35 years ago that Pat Benatar graced us with her timeless New Wave classic ‘Love Is A Battlefield’. Let’s go back to 1983!

When Pat Benatar released ‘Love Is A Battlefield’, she already was an established artist state side. Her rock tracks like ‘Heartbreaker’, ‘Shadows of the Night’ and ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ all became decent sized hits, but the Americans had no problem at all when she changed things up. ‘Love Is A Battlefield’, written by Holly Knight and Mike Chapman, was initially meant as a melodic ballad, but after Pat and producer/husband Neil Giraldo started playing around with drum machines in the studio, the electronic new wave sound for the track was created. Although the guitars were still present, it was quite the switch in sound for Benatar which paid off greatly.

It became arguably her biggest hit in the US with a top 5 spot in the Billboard Hot 100 and boosted her profile all around the world, hitting number 1 in multiple countries, including Australia and The Netherlands. The incredible catchiness of the melodies, the swinging rhythms of the drums and synths and her dynamic vocal performance made ‘Love Is A Battlefield’ one of the defining classics of the 80s. Even 35 years later, the song is still often used to represent the sound of that decade, most recently when it appeared in the hugely popular series Stranger Things, which is set in 1983 and 1984.

The music video sure played a big part in the massive success of ‘Love Is A Battlefield’ as well. Benatar, then 30 years old, plays a rebellious teenager who walks away from home, after which her father tells her never to come back again. She travels to the big city where she starts work as a dancer in a shady night club. When the even shadier owner / pimp harms one of the girls, Benatar comes to the girl’s defense and literally dances him out of his own club in an iconic choreography scene (which did not come quite naturally to Pat, as she admitted in interviews after the release). The kids of today would definitely refer to this video as ‘being extra’, but there is nothing wrong with that. It is powerful, memorable and well executed and sure helped the classic status of the song!

Although Benatar has not released an album in ages (her last one saw the light of day in 2003) she still goes on tour regularly and recorded the song ‘Shine’ to support the Women’s March in 2017, as well as the soundtrack ‘Dancing Through The Wreckage’ for the documentary Served Like A Girl.

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