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 with the same version of the song.
Usher interpolated this song on the song "Making Love (Into the Night)" from his 2010 album Raymond v. Raymond.
Somps from FloridaFor those that "want" to translate it so that it doesn't portray pediphelia, that's up to you. I see people lie all the time... make excuses all the time. Almost every day now. You take ALL of the facts, not just the ones that suit you and fit your narrative. Hell, if that's the case, I'm the king of wherever you live and you owe me taxes for reading this. LoL. See how silly we can get. If this song got you through tough times, I can see where you would want to defend it and I'm glad it got you through tough times and touches you, but the facts are that he is a grown man and ends up making out with this underage girl. For those of you saying, "listen to his explanation!" Have you never watched that show where they bust guys who are going to meet up with underage boys and girls? Every one of them has an explanation. They just don't have a hit song to go with it. Jump on Youtube and do a quick search for Bounty Hunter D. He does videos of catching people who miss their court date, but the ones I want you to watch are the ones where he and a partner, many times Patty Mayo, catch cheaters and they bring them and their significant other in and "interviews" them. Don't just watch one. Watch several. The cheaters are often times sooo convincing. "They said blah blah blah. I believe them!" Then he puts them through a lie detector. "Lie detectors don't mean crap". Then he brings out the pictures. "Pictures can be doctored". When you start making excuses at this point, it's just sad. They then bring in the person that they were cheating with and some still try to deny it but most come clean at that point. People lie when they get asked something they feel guilty about. Benny Mardones was 37 at the time! Yes, it is what it sounds like and you can deny it all you want. "But it's been such a special song to me..." (as the tears flow)... that's ok. If you want to overlook the facts, I'm not going to judge you. Just don't try to convince me this guy was on the up and up with this. I know a ton of artists of every category and I have seen plenty who just want everything to be fair game. "Why put limits and restrictions?" Because, although there are kids that have great mental capacities at this age, there are so many more that just don't get everything yet. They don't have the experience to use to weigh the should and should not. Look at all these fail videos on Youtube where they do stupid life threatening stuff that they wouldn't do 10 or 15 years later. That's why we have the limitations. Young girls want somebody to care deeply for them and if the guy has money or jewelry, all the better. For the person that was getting abused and felt like this song saved you... I'll be honest with you, for every guy you think is going to swoop in and save you, there are a 1000 guys listening to this song and thinking it's ok to sexually abuse a teenage girl. Hell, the person abusing you... this might have been their "go to" song that made it ok in their mind. The song is beautiful and I can imagine a guy who turned 18 and being told "son, you are 18 now and too old to see my daughter", and the 18 year old starts singing this song. That would have worked for me, but every time I hear this on the radio, I wonder how many older guys use this to justify their sick fantasies. Look at it how you want. Justify it. I won't judge you, but the fact is, this is a 37 year old guy portraying making out with a 16 year old girl and I'm pretty sure if you introduce the lyrics to anyone who has never heard the song, they'll be like, "that's perverted dude." Benny got away with giving an excuse in his interview. What do you expect? "Well, Bob, I was thinking about taking this girl and teaching her some things..." of course he is going to make it sound above board. And By the way, I have a cool bridge that Benny walked on for sale. It's in great condition and I take cash only. And for the guy that gave examples of other double hits in the 80's, the person said the "only unrevised double hit" meaning that there were no changes. All of your examples have additions or something changing it from its original. Adding a rapper in with the original is still a change. If you can show me a double hit that was exactly 100% the same, then I'll take that, but every one of your examples had something that changed it from it's original. If the only change is the person singing it again in a different studio, but same version, same tempo, same everything, then that would be an original still. Adding another person singing or rapping is not a re release of the original. I'm good with however you want to see this as long as no one uses it as an excuse to get with underage kids. Take care and love you all.
Kim from FloridaI was 16 when this was out and naturally thought nothing was off about it. But the song is a classic so as it hung around for decades I started to.think.ok kinda creepy but who knows how old the guy's supposed to be. After seeing the video there's no way he thought of Heidi as platonic. The video I wish I never saw because "Heidi" looks like she's being stalked. Her face is expressionless as he wails in passion. His interview explanation was creepy too. He describes her in a mini skirt with stacked heels and adds "adorable" then he has to tell his letch friend to leave her alone she's just 16. Beautiful song but creepy with a capital C. And no he's no 18-21 year old guy either so wtf. Even the Heidi in the video looked younger than 16. Ewww
Marquessa from San Jose Ca I love this song and I hear what Benny says about the explanation. But if this is soo, why all the kissing at the end of the video? That looks like the 33 year old man is trying to get into the 16 year olds pants... or maybe he did. Dunno... I do know that I love love this song and will just pretend an 18 year old is singing to his 16 year old girl.
David Jack James from Boca Raton, FloridaThe statement above that "The song was the only one to chart twice in the '80s by the same artist," is not correct. "I'm So Excited" by The Pointer Sisters was a U.S. Billboard Top 40 hit twice in the ‘80s. The original version entered the Top 40 in 1982. A slightly remixed version was a bigger hit in 1984. "Red Red Wine" by UB40 was also a hit twice in the ‘80s. The original version entered the Top 40 in 1983. In 1988 the song was re-released and included the Jamaican rap (or “toast”) that had been mostly omitted from the 1983 single version. And "Send Me an Angel" by Real Life was a hit twice in the ‘80s. The original version entered the Top 40 in 1984. In 1989, a different version (officially entitled “Send Me an Angel ‘89”) was a bigger hit.
Jpl from Nashville Tn.I was 9 when this song first came out. But only remember hearing it ....somewhere when I was....14? Then I was 18 when it was re-released I have to say at both 14 and 18 ...the teen romance years....it kinda hit me. As a love song. I guess because of my age at the times. Definitely have fun memories of listening to it in 89 with my girl after work.
Tony from San DiegoLMFAO Sgt. Mitchell
Julie from WindsorI 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.
Kat from MarylandAll 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.
Sgt Campbell from San FranciscoThe 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
Shon from MemphisI 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.
Lionel Ulloa from Panama, PanamaI 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.
Rena from Enid, OkI 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.
Danielle from A_socalgirl@yahoo.com, CaHe is a pedophile watch the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aWhn0Hc8ps
Louise from Auckland, NetherlandsAs 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.
Bradley from Winchester, NhFox 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.
Steve from Torrance, CaWhen 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.
Rebekah from Seattle, WaWhen 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!
Music Heals from Trenton, NjThis 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.
Jayne from Somerset, KyThis 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!
Dane from Lima,ohio, FlThis 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.
Fnk from Richmond, VaRead the song any way you want. I use the age I want 21. And it still applies.FP.Jamaica
Z from Bronx, NyHMMMM, 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.
Naomi from Philadelphia, PaI 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!!!!
John from Seattle, WaI 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.
Lanita from Palm Springs, CaMak, 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.
Sincerely, Lanita, Palm Springs, Ca.
Og from Los Angeles, CaBeth, 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.
Beth from Winston-salem, NcBTW, 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 from Winston-salem, NcI 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.
Sara from Greenville, AlI used to love this song, but then I read what someone said it was about and backed off.
Mak from Orlando, FlHmmm, 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.
Faerie from Tomar, PortugalThis 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!
Sebastian from Providence, Ri"16-year-old girl"? That's just wrong. But I have the song thou.
Charles from Charlotte, NcThe 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.