76 of 77 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
If you were a teenage girl in the eighties, you knew (and probably loved) Pat Benatar. While there have always been females doing rock Pat was really the first to stand on her own as an artist, belting out songs that the best hard rock acts of the day would have been proud to call their own. It wasn't a woman singing rock, it was a rock singer who happened to be a woman. In her memoir "Between a Heart and a Rock Place" (sorry, Pat, had to take a half star off for that lame title) Benatar details in a voice that is clearly her own the remarkable circumstances that led a little girl from a working-class town on Long Island to become a rock goddess.
If you're looking for dirt and gossip a la "I'm With The Band" this isn't your book. "Mine is one of the only stories that doesn't involve at least one trip to rehab," Benatar writes, and it's true. About the closest she comes to that is writing about her first marriage to a man who suffered from PTSS after returning from Vietnam--who was also the man who gave her her famous last name. Wanting to be with him derailed Benatar's original ambition of a classical career, blowing off her Julliard audition much to the horror of her high school vocal coach. It was another man, however, who understood what Benatar wanted to do and collaborated with her--Neil "Spyder" Giraldo, whom Benatar immediately fell in love with while recording her first album and gives major credit for shaping her sound, not to mention being her husband of nearly thirty years. Pat Benatar is not a solo artist in their minds, but a band, and the stories that are told show that mindset.
Benatar writes scathingly about the rampant sexism involved in the music business at that time, about how what she wore and how sexy she acted seemed to be more important than the music, to the point that when she had given birth to her oldest daughter she was essentially forbidden to talk about the baby for fear it would detract from her rock vixen image. She also lends a lot of insight on what it's like to be basically a slave to a record company, how she and Giraldo fought to get him songwriting and producing credits, how the mandated album-and-tour-every-nine-months schedule nearly killed her career in the late eighties because of oversaturation.
Today at 57, Benatar has become one of the elder stateswoman of women in rock and she is rightfully credited for paving the way for bands like the Donnas and Kittie, where no one thinks it's weird for girls to rock. Her offstage life is peaceful, raising two daughters whose friends think of her as "Haley and Hana's mom who happens to sing." As they have done for the past few years she and Giraldo are out on a summer tour, and having seen her last year I can assure you she hits the high notes as well as she did in her heyday. Even if you're not a Pat Benatar fan "Between a Heart and a Rock Place" is an enjoyable read by a woman who lived the rock star dream but never lost sight of the importance of family and following your instincts.
46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2010
This is definitely not the `cookie cutter' celebrity bio ghost written story, but an emotional tale of a one woman's rise to unbelievable fame. The book definitely has a unique voice that is undoubtedly Benatar's,and it sways effortlessly from personal stories to growing up with her little brother to detailed accounts of her tumultuous relationship with the record companies. You find out interesting Benatar facts like she had a pet monkey named "Jo Jo", and was forced to hide her pregnancy by record companies, the isolation of being a superstar before the internet. The book is funny and beautifully written, and you learn that Pat Benatar is not just a rock star, or not just a rock star whose career seemed to suddenly stop at the height of its popularity. (You also learn why!) Her record company essentially imploded, she chose family and love over continuing to be a rock superstar, but she always remained true to herself. I was glued to each page as Benatar takes you on an incredible detailed musical journey with constant battles with an abusive record company, her honesty and ideology is straightforward and cuts to the bone. No Benatar does not have a crazy tale of booze and drugs, but one of seriously standing up for herself. The book also is a fascinating and beautiful love story between her and her husband/collaborator. Fans will definitely love every page of this book, but I think it is also just a REALLY good read for anyone. A fascinating and beautiful tale of a woman who not only changed music, but stayed true to herself, kept her amazing vocal talent in tact , and is an absolutely beautiful and inspiring human being.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I have read many biographies, auto-biographies etc of various persons that were written and they seemed to follow a certain formula more often times than not. Being a fan of Pat Benatar I had been looking forward to this release and silently praying to myself, don't let it suck or be a formula. It absolutely does not suck, and is not formulated in any way, quite like the organic flow of the variety of music that Pat and Neil have produced over the years. If you have any inkling of what the world was like during the late 70's and the 80's, this is an insightful look into the inner workings of a piece of life that most of us would not be privy to. Make no mistake, this is not a book simply about the 80's. As we age, we grow and with this book we see Pat and Neil grow beyond the 80's, the grammy's, parent hood and the record industry as it used to be.
I found myself laughing out loud over many pages, nodding on some information I knew, and crying and reflecting at other times. I often thought of my own upbringing and the calamities of my youth which one again reinforces the fact we are all people, and its those life events that make us who we are today, and being a human is a huge commonality no matter your 'Rock Star' status. The way Pat writes this is truly captivating and even if you are not a fan I dare you to put it down, because you should be afraid of missing that next nugget of insight, humorous tidbit, cautionary tale or life experience which may help you to steer yourself a bit differently.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2011
I've always kinda liked Pat Benatar's music so I thought I'd check out the book and maybe get the behind the scene scoop on one of the artist I grew up listening to in the '80's. Pat always had kind of a hard edge to her image and music so I guess I came into it expecting it to be a story about how she kicked ass and succeeded against all odds. As I read the book, sure there were barriers that she overcame but the way the book is written she came across as a defenseless victim of the record industry. The majority of the book is her complaining about the record company pushing her to make records or tour and marketing her in sexy outfits. It really kind of changed my image of her; and not for the better. I'm sure she realizes how lucky she is and appreciates her life now, but based on the book you would almost think that the entire time she was with Chrysalis records (who released all of her hit records) was sheer torture for her. I find it hard to be sympathetic towards that situation considering that she made millions doing what she loves, with somebody that she loves, and came out on the other side of it successful and happy.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2011
I own every studio album she's ever put out. And now I know why there are so many horrible compilations. I used to have every song memorized so well I could recite them. I have craved new music from this woman whose voice I can pick out on the radio within seconds of hearing a new song (did that with Shadows of the Night when I was sixteen) and whose music has helped my own literary creative flow. I've attended at least six concerts. At one, up in Pine Knob for the Innamorata tour when I was 28, I gave her a rose and she took my hand. I cried like an idiot.
And I must say that Neil Giraldo is one of the MOST UNDER-RATED guitar players EVER! He is phenomenal in live performance, and I got the chance to tell him so at BB King's in Times Square a few years back.
But when I saw how thin this book was, I knew I'd never purchase it. I borrowed it from the library, knowing it was going to be as sparse as new music releases, and read it in three days. Buy a used copy for less than half the price if this is something you want to keep on your shelf.
While I very much enjoyed the stories of her childhood and those who pushed her into training for music, and the story of meeting Neil, I was left wanting so much MORE.
Yes, there's lots of complaining about the record company. Most artists have complaints about the company, especially from back then. But I admire the fact that she NAMES the NAMES when it comes to the ugly moments.
The word "insulated" is way overused (at least ten to fifteen times in a 250 page book -- an editor should have done something about that) but the text is casual and conversational. It's an easy read over all, though there's a switch from grammatically correct verbiage to incorrect forms about halfway through.
But vital substance is missing. There are stories I've seen her tell in interviews that are missing. Or that she told differently in interviews. So was she glossing over in the interview when she said getting to the seventh album wasn't all that difficult? Or is she overstating in the book when she says how difficult everything was and that it was such a hard album to produce? (Personally, I thought Seven the Hard Way was one of her best. Red Vision is spectacular. Run Between the Raindrops makes my motherly heart weep every time.)
I've seen just about all the pictures before. I had many of them on my walls as a teenager and young adult. Different pictures would have been nice. More candid shots rather than publicity photos would have been great. Perhaps a few pages of all the single sleeves and cover art for the albums. I know they shot several pictures for Tropico. I've seen one in which she's holding a different bird than what's on the cover.
I really like the "keeping it real" moments. The interview with a journalist who says "so and so gets ready by not talking, so and so does this...what do you do to get ready?" And Pat replies that she's putting on mascara with the two year old saying "Mommy, wipe me!" behind her. THAT is as real world as life gets, and I'm all about that. lol These moments of being human are the most important and they are missing.
What about when Neil got his first tattoo? His arms were bare for Precious Time. Now he's all inked up. Tell us THAT part of the story. Tell why, when keeping control over what she wore on stage was so important, why did she seem to wear the exact same outfit for every show of a tour later on?
In interviews, they talked about fertility doctors and shots but in this book there is none of that struggle. That would have been SO IMPORTANT to share. Yes, deeply personal, but to put in print these personally affecting moments is to put into words what so many others have struggled with themselves. I know from my own writings how powerful that is to the reader, to connect on that level when they cannot speak of it themselves.
I absolutely love Pat Benatar's music. But despite the work gone into it (and we must acknowledge that writing about one's own life IS a difficult undertaking), her autobiography is a mere shadow of the woman.
July 13, 2011
Books in Kindle by TylerRose.
PEEPER (Gethis: History of a Planet)
The Cottage: A Story of Gethis (Gethis: History of a Planet)
The Healer (Gethis: History of a Planet)
Evil's Heart (Gethis: History of a Planet)
Auntie Tyler's Crochet Garden
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2010
Pat Benatar chronicles her rise to rock stardom in this memoir. This first-edition hardcover version is just shy of 250 pages with 8 glossy pages of photos including Pat on various video shoots, outtakes from studio sessions, etc.
Pat starts off remembering her childhood and upbringing by hard-working, blue-collar, self-sacrificing parents; her early mentors who helped her hone her craft; and an unsuccessful teenage marriage.
Things get more interesting as she recalls her time in New York leading up to her discovery and signing with Chrysalis Records.
Around the time her career took off, she met her soul mate and musical collaborator, guitarist Neil "Spyder" Giraldo.
She's honest about her battles with the label and their betrayal. She states than during 1980-81, when she was at the height of her success commercially with "Crimes of Passion," she was actually at her unhappiest and most stressful period.
Pat has to fight chauvinism and sexism in the form of sleazy disc jockeys and record producers, constantly trying to preserve her artistic integrity and personal beliefs. She tells of her frustration in wanting to be known for her vocal talents instead of being marketed for her sex appeal.
She gives detailed accounts of the writing and recording process, as well as fun anecdotes about some of her video shoots such as "Love is a Battlefield".
Those looking for dirt will be disappointed. With Pat, there are no lurid tales of drug or alcohol abuse, or drunken debauchery while on tour.
Later in the book, Pat writes of the difficulties in juggling motherhood with touring and making music; of her decision to try new musical directions and adapt to the music biz in the digital age.
"Between a Heart and a Rock Place" is not really a riveting read. It is not one of those books I couldn't put down and finished in a day or two. Instead, it's a well-written, personal account of an extremely vocally-gifted but hard-working female rock icon who likes to live the quiet life of a homebody when not on tour, and never needed to get caught up in the excesses of the rock-and-roll lifestyle like so many others.
I read a chapter or two a night and left with a better understanding and a glimpse into the world of a 1980s rock goddess.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This is the type of Woman we want our children idolizing!
Just because nothing terrible, or "taboo" happened to Pat in her career, doesn't make this book boring, as some other ignorant reviewers will tell you.
Just because Pat wasn't a crack addict or a slut, or a heroin junkie like Belinda Carlisle, does not make her life boring. On the contrary!!! This book is a beautiful love story between Pat, her music, and her husband. Some major struggles between her and her "Record company from HELL" get explained in awesome detail in this book. You get a real idea of how much the record industry has changed, what it was like back then, and how it effected an up-and-coming star, playing in a "Men's" only game.
This book is THE BEST biography I have read by a musical artist. I actually heard Pat in an interview explaining how she actually did about 98% of this book herself. The ghost writer was only there for technical issues with the book. This makes the book even more special, because it's like Pat is just sitting in your livingroom with you as you're reading. That is how "PAT" this book is. It's like you can hear her talking in the same way that she would tell a story in person. The words just flow perfectly and take you on an adventure in the record industry. You can tell that every word was Pat's. It's an amazingly wonderful book that I didn't want to finish, because I didn't want it to end, and I did not expect it to be so GREAT!
As for sales of This book it's actually doing REALLY well!! It's made it to #11 on the L.A. times bestsellers list, and it also cracked the NY times best sellers list, so OBVIOUSLY a lot of people adore this little gem of a book!! Unlike the ONE person who hates this book, and wrote a terrible review.
To the HATERS who can't give a decent review... I hope your butt falls off!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2010
As a diehard fan, I was just a little disappointed that the book was somewhat limited to so much familiar ground. If you have seen Pat Benatar's Behind The Music or Lifetime Portrait, you know maybe 75 percent of this material.
As other reviewers noted, it could have been a longer book with a lot more detail. Pat describes a yearlong breakup with Neil that severely impacted her life and career, but is frustratingly (or understandably?) vague about the cause(s). She also describes her disappointment with the album and tour sales for Wide Awake In Dreamland (1988) but again writes very broadly about just what happened there. When she writes about the firing of her first manager Rick Newman over accounting issues, she basically says "we found out a lot of bad things were going on." I wasn't looking for gossip, but just felt that some sections were fluffy while other sections were more meaty.
Still, this is a relatively minor criticism. The book definitely seemed to be written in Pat's "voice" which made for a fun and enjoyable read. You also feel like you get to know her a little better as a person, who shops at Costco for toilet paper, takes her daughter to Jonas Brothers concerts, and can't fall asleep if she knows there is a dirty fork in the sink.
My favorite segments were the comparatively detailed descriptions of the recording and producing process for her first three albums. You can palpably feel the creative energy combined with the stress and tension in the studio. Thanks, Pat, for taking us there.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1- She was treated poorly by her record company. What artist isn't?
2- The book seems mainly written to compliment her husband. He may not have gotten enough credit back in the day, but the repetition of this theme got boring fast.
3- What it feels like to be a huge rock star both on and off-stage is never really addressed . A failing in a rock star memoir.
4- At one point in the book she comments that she is too boring to be on " Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous". Maybe not boring, but her life story does not make for riveting reading.
I liked her in her heyday, and I was interested in what she did when the hits stopped happening, but overall a dull and lifeless book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I saw a TV interview with Pat the night before the book came out and knew I wanted to get to know her. This book introduced me to a musician who fought to maintain her musical as well as her personal integrity, and as a result has had not only a long career but a good, long marriage. Both are rare in her business. She also writes about the good, the bad, and the ugly in the music business, letting us know it's not all about the glitz and glamour. I recommend this book for anyone interested in music (especially rock), family, and a happy ending.