Shadows Of The Night

Album: Get Nervous (1982)
Charted: 50 13
Play Video


  • This song was written by D.L. Byron, a pop-rock singer who released his first album, This Day and Age, in 1980 on Arista Records with Jimmy Iovine producing. He wrote "Shadows Of The Night" for his second album, but he ran into creative differences with Arista and left the label without making the album.

    The song went to a pop singer named Rachel Sweet, who released it on her 1981 album ...And Then He Kissed Me (her version was produced by Rick Chertoff). Her version didn't get much traction, but in 1982 "Shadows Of The Night" was released by Pat Benatar, who had some hits under her belt with "Promises in the Dark" and "We Live For Love." The song was a great fit for Benatar, with lyrics using bold imagery to assuage a lover.

    Like "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," it was a song written by a man that Benatar had to reverse gender. Her powerful voice and strong persona helped pull it off, as lines like "baby take my hand, it'll be all right" are more typically delivered by the guy trying to comfort his damsel.
  • Pat Benatar was one of MTV's early stars - her "You Better Run" clip was just the second video the network played when they launched in 1981. For "Shadows Of The Night," a conceptual video was made by director Mark Robinson showing Pat as a WWII flying ace doing her part to fight the Nazis while also singing from her aircraft. We find out at the end that she is really a riveter, and it was all a dream.

    Benatar married her guitarist, Neil Giraldo, nine months before the Get Nervous album came out, and while Neil was her musical partner, he wasn't big on the videos. He told Songfacts: "As videos got more popular, they became little stories or vignettes, and to me they didn't represent the song anymore. They were like little commercials for people trying to make the interpretation of the words different than what they should have been. So I wasn't a big fan, and I hated it. I was like, 'How could you do this?' Why would you do a song like 'Shadows of the Night' and have it like a war scene? What is this? This is horrible. Who thought this was a good idea? We made the rule that there would be no more historical costumes anymore after that video. It just became stupid and senseless.

    But on the other hand, what a medium for trying to get music and songs out. I knew it would be big, but I had no idea it would have that much impact. Incredible."
  • Benatar won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female, four years in a row. "Shadows Of The Night" was her third win, following Crimes Of Passion and "Fire And Ice," and preceding "Love Is A Battlefield."
  • It appears that Rachel Sweet, who first recorded the song, also made contributions to the lyrics, but Benatar didn't know this when she recorded the song, causing a credit kerfuffle. She recalled to WNCX:

    "D.L. Byron had submitted this song and he neglected to ever tell us that he re-wrote some of the lyrics and it was really Rachel Sweet's song. So when we got it we thought, 'Aah, you know what, we don't like some of these verses' and we talked to the publishers and Myron [her drummer, Myron Grombacher] and I said, 'You know what, we'd like to change some of it.' And he said, 'Oh, no problem.'

    When we put the writing credits on the record he never told us that Rachel's lyrics were still on there. Now the song said, 'DL Byron, additional lyrics Pat Benatar and Myron Grombacher.' So, of course, she got extremely pissed."

    In ASCAP's database, Byron is the only writer credited on the song. On Sweet's album, she is credited for "additional lyrics."
  • The video stars Judge Reinhold as a pilot and Bill Paxton as a Nazi radio operator.

Comments: 2

  • Bob from Franklin TennesseeI believe that it was a depiction of Rosie the riveter in the video
  • Steve Burdin @ Northern Pop Quizzes from West Yorkshire UkRachel Sweet did indeed record an early version of the song but I believe Helen Schneider predated it with her version.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Curt Kirkwood of Meat Puppets

Curt Kirkwood of Meat PuppetsSongwriter Interviews

The (Meat)puppetmaster takes us through songs like "Lake Of Fire" and "Backwater," and talks about performing with Kurt Cobain on MTV Unplugged.

Colbie Caillat

Colbie CaillatSongwriter Interviews

Since emerging from MySpace with her hit "Bubbly," Colbie has become a top songwriter, even crafting a hit with Taylor Swift.

David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & Tears

David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & TearsSongwriter Interviews

The longtime BS&T frontman tells the "Spinning Wheel" story, including the line he got from Joni Mitchell.

Adam Young of Owl City

Adam Young of Owl CitySongwriter Interviews

Is Owl City on a quest for another hit like "Fireflies?" Adam answers that question and explains the influences behind many others.

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & PalmerSongwriter Interviews

Greg talks about writing songs of "universal truth" for King Crimson and ELP, and tells us about his most memorable stage moment (it involves fireworks).

Meshell Ndegeocello

Meshell NdegeocelloSongwriter Interviews

Meshell Ndegeocello talks about recording "Wild Night" with John Mellencamp, and explains why she shied away from the spotlight.