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Into The Night by Benny Mardones

Album: Never Run, Never HideReleased: 1980Charted:
  • With the opening line, "She's just 16 years old, leave her alone, they said," we understand if you think this song sounds a little statutory. Benny Mardones tells us that the 16-year-old girl he's singing about was named Heidi, and she lived in his apartment in Spanish Harlem. Their relationship was purely platonic, however, as Benny looked after Heidi and her family after her father left. Benny would pay her $50 a week to walk his basset hound, Zanky.
  • Mardones wrote this song with Robert Tepper, who would later write the song "No Easy Way Out" for the movie Rocky IV. Benny told us: "One night Robert Tepper and I were up writing songs. It was about a week before we were leaving for Miami to cut the first big album, which was Never Run, Never Hide. We thought that we already had the hit song, so did Polydor Records. It was a song called 'Might Have Been Love.' But at the last minute we're sitting there one night at my apartment trying to write. Bobby kept playing the chord changes and we tried 18 melodies and 30 kinds of lyrics and all of a sudden the key in the door turned and I said, 'Oh my God, it's daylight.' Because we liked to keep the blinds down.

    And in she walks, 16 years old, dressed for school in a miniskirt, little stacked heels, adorable, 16-going-on-21. She said, 'You've been up all night?' and of course it was obvious. I said, 'Yeah, we have.' She says, 'Okay, come on, Zanky,' and she walks the dog out. When she leaves and goes out the door, my partner goes, 'Oh, my God.' I said, 'Hey, Bob. She's just 16 years old, leave her alone.' And literally five minutes later I said, 'Play that lick again, Bobby.' So he played the lick and I went (singing), 'she's just 16 years old, leave her alone, they say.' Then I thought about her dad and what he had done, and that's where I got (singing), 'Separated by fools who don't know what love is yet.' The chorus was, 'you're too young for me, but if I could fly, I'd pick you up and take you into the night and show you love like you've never seen.' Then the verse 'It's like having it all and letting it show. It's like having a dream where nobody has a heart. It's like having it all and watching it fall apart.' Because his success was not the family's success; it was just his. 'I can't measure my love there's nothing compared to it' - it was all about the abandonment of this family and this 16-year-old girl."
  • While the song has stuck like glue to radio playlists, when it first came out, radio stations had some concerns. Benny explains: "When it first was released, R&B stations all over America thought I was black. Then they found out I was white and they dropped the record. White radio was afraid to touch it because they thought it was about me dating a 16-year-old girl at my age. So Polydor Records sent out like 3,000 letters to radio stations across the country explaining what the song was really about. And the song got added and almost instantly started playing all over America."
  • When this song became a hit, Benny Mardones suddenly found himself with a great deal of money and fame, which he didn't handle very well. He developed a cocaine addiction and got in the habit of drinking a bottle of whiskey every night. He recorded the album Too Much To Lose the next year, but when it came time to tour and promote it, he was in Miami, wasted out of his mind. His momentum was stopped cold and his record company, Polydor, lost interest. He continued his descent until 1985, when his son Michael was born and he stopped using drugs. His best friend pulled him together and flew him to Syracuse, where Benny started a new life away from the temptations of Miami. The only white stuff he saw was snow - and plenty of it. Benny became a local celebrity, met various women who helped raise his son (Michael's mom was in worse shape than Benny), and was a big concert draw in the area for the next 10 years.
  • In 1989, "Into The Night" was re-released after a "Where Are They Now?" feature on the Arizona radio station KZZP, which led to renewed interest in the song. The influential program director Scott Shannon added it to his playlist in Los Angeles, and radio stations across the country followed suit. A new version of the song was released, and this time it hit #20 in the US. The song was the only one to chart twice in the '80s by the same artist.
  • Usher interpolated this song on the song "Making Love (Into the Night)" from his 2010 album Raymond v. Raymond.
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Comments: 27

I have always loved this song and I'm glad to read the explanation regarding it's meaning BUT it sure as hell doesn't help some people's opinions, about Benny being a peodofile, when the end of the video shows him half way laying down and seriously kissing this "16 year old" girl. This was just in poor taste if in fact what he states is the true meaning of the song.Julie - Windsor
All kidding aside. This is a great song. 1980. I was 19 yrs old and starting what would be an almost 30 yr career with Southwestern Bell/ATT. Hadn't heard this song in almost 36 yrs. Brings back many wonderful memories. I sure would love to see Benny Mardones in concert before Parkinson's Disease takes over.Kat - Maryland
The San Francisco police department is seeking any information regarding the whereabouts of Heidi. We belive she may have been the victim of numerous violations of the law. Also any information regarding who is currently walking Heidi's dog, as we believe it likely needs to go to the bathroom.

If the magic carpet is located, please tow with a hold for sex crimes.

Case number 150882167

Sgt Mitch Capbell
Sgt Campbell - San Francisco
I like the song and thought it was pedophilice until reading this but the video at the end with him kissing the girl doesn't help matters.Shon - Memphis
I think is all explained above, there isn't need for such scandal. This song is the best AOR ballad I've had ever heard and was composed with help of Robert Tepper "No Easy Way Out". This song from Benny Mardones is the top notch in every sold venue. He is Chilean descendant too, that is a great staple in his romanticismo latino and great voice.Lionel Ulloa - Panama, Panama
I can't believe so many people can't read, can't read at all! Giving out THEIR assumption of the song is sooo wrong. The facts came out in the interview.Rena - Enid, Ok
He is a pedophile watch the video
Danielle - A_socalgirl@yahoo.com, Ca
As someone else mentioned, the Mike Mantisa version is pretty nice. And there is an interview with him and Benny Mardones on You Tube if you are interested. The original video with Benny, which wasn't "available" for years, is also on You Tube now. Despite the real back story about the teen neighbor who he wanted to help by letting her walk his dog, the video plays out the story of an older
guy (Benny) being kept away from his very young looking teen girlfriend by a stern Dad. Benny peers in her window, calls her from a pay phone, and then jumps in her window with a rolled up carpet. They hop on the carpet, flying off into the night as he kisses her. I guess the real story would have been hard to show in a video?! Regardless of what issues people might have with the subject matter, it really is a gorgeous song and Benny has an amazing set of vocal chords.
Louise - Auckland, Netherlands
Fox Sports Radio's Tony Bruno uses this song as his nighttime show's closing theme. Bruno's nighttime show shares its name with this song.Bradley - Winchester, Nh
When I first heard this song, I was sure it was just a parody of Steve (Journey) Perry's singing style. I knew it wasn't really Steve and Journey, but it sounded like an amateur trying to ape his diaphragm-heavy vocal inflections. Such were the 1980s.Steve - Torrance, Ca
When I first heard this song, I was 16, and it had/has very deep meaning for me. For those who are reading into it as pedophilia, they could not be more wrong!
I interepet this as a deep affection he has for another human being, and he knows she is not getting the love she deserves. I was a troubled, abused teen and nobody spoke for me, so I used to imagine him singing it to me and nobody really stepped up to the plate for me, so every time it came on the radio, it gave me the feeling that somebody was speaking for me and caring for me. I think this man is DEEPLY spiritual and pretty amazing and should be in teh Rock and Roll Hall of Fame b/c this song has more depth than most out there. I love Benny Mardones!
Rebekah - Seattle, Wa
This song was just re-released last week by a singer from NJ named Mike Matisa. I just downloaded my copy off of iTunes after coming across the video on YouTube. His version is incredible and has a great modern sound to it, but without losing the classic feel. This song is just gutwrenching and only two people who encounter such an experience will ever know the true meaning of unconditional love. And no..NOT in a perverted sense either.Music Heals - Trenton, Nj
This song brings back so many memories for me. I was actually 17, and dating my assist manager "L" from McDonalds who was 21. We had to see each other in secret because my mom didn't approve and it was against policy to fratinize with crew. My best (male) friend from high school use to pick me up like we were doing something on saturday night, and drop me off to meet with "L". My friend use to sing this song to me everytime it came on the radio because he said that it described the relationship between "L" and myself. We eventually started dating in the open (after I turned 18 and he got transrferred to another location). He was my first love, but sadly we did not last. Oh the memories this song brings back!Jayne - Somerset, Ky
This is a song I've always loved.It wasn't a real big hit,but I remember it got played a lot I didn't know about the rerelease in 1989.The long version's really cool.Dude wails @ the end of this song.Dane - Lima,ohio, Fl
Read the song any way you want. I use the age I want 21. And it still applies.FP.JamaicaFnk - Richmond, Va
HMMMM, At face value it's sounds like a sensuous fantasy of a man captivated by a girls innocence and genuineness. Only he knows for sure. Maybe that question can be asked in an interview. He was 33 when the song was recorded. There are other songs about age differences. One that comes to mind is " Age Aint Nothing But A Number" by Aaliyah, although not nearly as beautiful or deeply moving. No pedophilia here which is about lust not love. I agree it is timeless forever.Z - Bronx, Ny
I agree with Mark: this song doesn't necessarily have to be about a perv lusting for a 16 year old. There are many different types of love....i guess it depends on how you look at it. Either way, I love Benny and I love this song!!!!Naomi - Philadelphia, Pa
I agree, this song has absolutely nothing to do with pedophiles or lust. If that's where your mind goes, then maybe you need to clear your head.John - Seattle, Wa
Mak, Orlando, FL. Did you get this story from
Benny Himself? How old was he when he wrote this song? How old was he when he hired the girl to walk his dogs? Just for the record, I don't think this song is about pedophiles, either. I'd really love to hear back from you with answers.

Lanita, Palm Springs, Ca.
Lanita - Palm Springs, Ca
Beth, very well put. I never saw it as a song about pedophilia either. I imagined an 18, maybe 19 year-old in love with a 16yo, that's not much of a difference. I was 19 when I started dating my 17yo girlfriend, who's now my wife.Og - Los Angeles, Ca
BTW, I love this song anyway. I think you can make it relate to your life merely by changing the "She's just 16 years old" to whatever age or situation you're in. In that way, the song is timeless because it's ever-changing. I love Benny's singing, especially at the end. Very raw and emotional.Beth - Winston-salem, Nc
I don't think this song is about pedophilia or sung from the perspective from a pedophile. For starters, 16 year olds are too old for pedophiles. You can either assume that Benny is singing to a 16 from the perspective of someone his age, or someone slightly younger.

It's a May-December romance type situation, not anything illegal. Think "Cradle of Love" by Billy Idol.
Beth - Winston-salem, Nc
I used to love this song, but then I read what someone said it was about and backed off.Sara - Greenville, Al
Hmmm, this isn't a song about lust, it is about love.
There's a story behind this, whether it is true or not, who knows, but I know it is from Benny himself.

Supposedly, Benny's neighbor was a family with a young 16-year-old girl. The parents had issues, and the girl was treated very poorly. Benny felt bad for her, so he tried his best to be nice to her when he could and gave her a job walking his dogs.

Now, let's weave this into the song.

"Separated by fools
Who don't know what love is yet" Means that he is kept from her by people who mistake his love for her as a lust, or romantic love. Think of it this way: I love human-kind, but I don't have romantic feelings for everybody. These "fools" don't understand that in him and think him... troubled.

"If I could fly
I'd pick you up
I'd take you into the night"
IF he could he would take her away from her poor parents.

"And show you a love
Like you've never seen - ever seen. "
She had never had real parental love; never had parents who really cared for her. He would give her that love that she'd never had before.

"It's like having a dream
Where nobody has a heart"
Nobody can understand what he's feeling and they think him bizarre for caring for her so.

I suppose it could be seen both ways though. Only Benny knows the truth.
Mak - Orlando, Fl
This song is really NICE. It has some really gorgeous memories for the Teri & Jay era. Hope some singer will pick it up & re-do it! And FORGET the paedophilia hues in this one. Its message was anything but that!Faerie - Tomar, Portugal
"16-year-old girl"? That's just wrong. But I have the song thou.Sebastian - Providence, Ri
The subject matter does not seem so romantic in light of all the pedophile cases of recent years, but the production makes this a guilty pleasure.Charles - Charlotte, Nc
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