Benny Mardones - lead vocals; John Moranea - keyboards; Joe Borey - guitar; Steve Missle - drums; Lee Fox - bass; Derek Fomey - guitar
The last of three shows captured at New York's Bottom Line Club for inclusion on the King Biscuit Flower Hour, this recording remains one of the few professional live tapes of his early career. Mardones had just released his debut album and was enjoying the radio success of the track "American Bandstand" at the time. Although there were many comparisons to Springsteen, in reality his music borrowed more heavily from influences like Roy Orbison, who would, in later years, become a close friend. (Ironically, a key event in the "comeback" of Benny Mardones was when he performed at the TV special tribute to Orbison with Bob Dylan, the reunited Byrds, and others).
Although not everything works on this performance, especially some of his lackluster covers, the show gives a good indication of the power that Mardones commanded when he was in his prime.
Benny Mardones emerged from Baltimore, Maryland after moving there from Cleveland and has the distinction of hitting the Top 20 charts two different times with the same song nearly a decade apart. His recording of "Into The Night," originally a hit in 1980, was re-released in 1989 after an Arizona radio station started playing it again when they re-discovered Mardones during a "Where Are They Now?" segment. In reality, Mardones never went away and never stopped playing contemporary music—he just sort of went underground.
Mardones was signed to a record deal in the late 1970s after the widespread success of Bruce Springsteen, Warren Zevon, John Cougar Mellencamp, and Meatloaf. His passionate vocals and dramatic urban tales made for some great songs, and critics gave him rave reviews after seeing his live shows.
Shortly after the success of "Into The Night" in 1980, Mardones got into a fight with a record executive at his label, and nearly destroyed his office during the altercation. The result was a nearly industry-wide 'blacklisting" that essentially killed his career. Mardones has attempted many comebacks and maintained a respectable fan base in certain cities such as Syracuse, NY. His last album was in 2006, which was also the year he discovered he had Parkinson's Disease. Despite his affliction, he continues to tour and record.