Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Pat Benatar - Precious Time

Today (July 6th) marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of Precious Time, the multi-Platinum selling third album from Pat Benatar. This 1981 record spent fifty-four weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 1 after just four weeks. It also reached number 57 in Germany, number 46 in the Netherlands, number 30 in the UK, number 9 in Sweden, number 8 in Australia, number 3 in France and number 2 in Canada.

Side one opens with "Promises in the Dark"; as the second single, it went to number 38 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 31 in Canada, and number 16 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. I love how this starts with a simple piano and light guitar accompaniment to Pat's lovely and vulnerable vocals. Then after a minute or so, it explodes with such energy of angry betrayal. For me, this was the better of the two singles from the album as it is easily my favorite track on the record.

"Fire and Ice", the first single, peaked at number 30 in Australia, number 22 in New Zealand, number 17 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 4 in Canada, and number 2 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. The song also won Benatar a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. The mid-tempo rhythm works well for this song of a hot and cold lover. Again, Pat's delivery is spot on - clearly a by-product of her operatic vocal training.

A cover of the 1965 hit "Just Like Me" by Paul Revere and the Raiders is next. This version of the song has a bit of a new-wave flavor to it which was the strongly growing trend in music at the time. I would hear this one occasionally on the radio, when the local album-oriented rock stations would play a "triple-shot". I suspect it was easy for the deejays to pull a trio from the record without the need to pick up the needle or change turntables.

The title track "Precious Time" closes out the first half. This one simmers with intensity for over six minutes. I remember singing along with the chorus to this one when I'd play the album in my bedroom as a high-schooler.

Side two begins with "It's a Tuff Life", a profile of a pampered and privileged person. The reggae influences are obvious on the verses.

"Take It Anyway You Want It" is next. This one is my least favorite track on the album; the chorus barely hooks me in and even then only tentatively.

"Evil Genius" was chosen as the B-side for the second single. It tells the tale of a gifted child whose life takes a drastic, dark turn. The early instrumental bridge stands out as it is something that you don't hear as often. The saxophones by Tom Scott and Larry Williams add an interesting layer to the band's standard rock elements. I remember that this one spoke to my teenaged mind for some reason.

The B-side to the first single was "Hard to Believe". This was another track on the record I never really got into.

The album closes with another cover, this time of the Beatles' 1968 smash "Helter Skelter". This version by the band is solid.

I owned a copy of Precious Time on vinyl back in 1981. As a fan of their first two albums, this was definitely one I was anxious to pick up and I certainly was not disappointed. But of the three, this one probably got the least play on my turntable though I am not completely sure why. The band was sounding great with a good balance of original songs and covers (which was also true of the earlier records as well). It could be the two tracks on second side which I wasn't into led me to not listen to that half often.

For more from Pat Benatar, click here.

1 comment:

HERC said...

Like you, I was a big fan of Benatar's first two albums and was highly anticipating the release of this one. According to my journal, it was the last album I bought at the BX in Rantoul. We packed up and moved 1636 miles southwest two weeks later. During our drive South, we swung over and hot Disney World and then came back west through New Orleans where I bought an album (Kiss's Dynasty) and a 45 (KC and the Sunshine Band's double A sided single "I'm Your Boogie Man" b/w "Wrap Your Arms Around Me") and spent the rest of the trip paranoid that they were gonna warp or break in the hot and stuffed car. They made the trip fine though.

We get to Tucson, have to spend five weeks living out of a tent in a campground just outside city limits in the late Summer heat while all of our stuff is in storage and I find a radio station I like and "Fire And Ice" is in heavy rotation. By the time we got into our house on the Base, "Promises In The Dark" was getting significant airplay on the local rock station. Those are still my favorite two songs from Precious Time.

Which reminds me, in just a few weeks it will offically be my 35th Anniversary here in the Sonoran Desert with the last 16 of those years here at The Hideaway.