Meet Benny Mardones [PHOTOS/VIDEOS]
Benny Mardones is one of only a handful of artists who have had a hit record chart twice…and the only song to chart twice in the 1980s…yet, he’s still considered a “one-hit-wonder.”
Benny Mardones was born Ruben Armand Mardones in Cleveland, Ohio, on November 9, 1946.
Ruben Mardones, Sr., his father, was from Santiago, Chile.
Benny only saw his father a few times….as his father left him, and his sister Louise, when Benny was a baby. Mardones, Sr. eventually returned to Chile. Benny also has two half-brothers and two half-sisters in Chile.
Benny grew up in Savage, Maryland, graduating from Howard High School in Ellicott City, Maryland in 1964.
After high school, he joined the Navy, and served in Vietnam.
After his discharge from the Navy, Benny Mardones moved to New York City, to pursue his dream of being a songwriter. At this time, he wrote several tunes with Alan Miles. Later, he would team up with with Bobby Tepper…with whom he’d write his twice-charting Billboard hit!
It is interesting to note that Benny would “demo” (sing) his songs that he would pitch to other artists…when record executive Tommy Mattola suggested that he record his own songs. Since then, he has written and recorded more than 100 songs!
Benny Mardone’s life changed forever in 1980, with the release of “Into The Night”
“Into The Night” zoomed up the Billboard charts, stopping just shy of the “Top 10″ (#11/1980). It would remain on the Hot 100 charts for 20 weeks!
Here’s the story behind the hit…the inspiration for the lyrics…in Benny’s own words!
“Into The Night’s” success put Benny squarely in the public eye in 1980…
…and he didn’t handle the fast money and sudden fame well…as he soon spiraled downward into cocaine addiction and alcoholism!
He had the habit of downing a bottle of whiskey a night!
Benny was in Miami in 1981 to promote his second album, “Too Much To Lose,” and he was “wasted out of his mind” according to reports at the time.
Benny Mardones had a LOT to lose…
In short time, Benny stopped giving concerts, and making public appearances…and his label, Polydor Records dropped him. He quickly went from hot spotlight to cold obscurity.
With the birth of his son, Michael, in April 1985, Benny was inspired to get his act together. He moved from the temptations of Miami to Syracuse, New York, and by the end of that summer, he had beaten his drug and alcohol addictions. Mardones became a local celebrity, and sold out area concerts for the next 10 years!
But wait….there’s more!
Benny Mardones is proof that “lightning” can strike twice!
In 1989, an Arizona radio station started a feature called “Where Are They Now?” The most popular question? “Whatever happened to the guy who sang “Into The Night?”
An influential radio station program director in Los Angeles added “Into The Night” to his hit playlist. Other stations quickly noticed…and the rest is, as they say: “Rock and Roll History!”
In its second run, “Into The Night” would be a #20 (1989) hit, and remain on the Hot 100 charts for 17 weeks!
Thanks to the re-release of the original hit….Benny’s career was briefly revived…and he recorded “Into The Night ’89″ for Curb Records.
He has lived comfortably off the record royalties from his 2x hit!
Benny Mardones was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2000…and despite his illness, he plays to sold-out crowds in central New York.
In his personal life, Benny Mardones married his third wife, Jane, in 2011. They live in Playa del Rey, California.