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One-Hit Wonders In Memoriam – Benny Mardones

“Into the Night” is the only three time one-hit wonder song: 1980, 1989 and 2019
Concert photo courtesy of Joel Diamond

Concert photo courtesy of Joel Diamond

Producer Joel Diamond said, “I am deeply saddened that my long time friend Benny Mardones has died. In his 2018 Goldmine interview Diamond shared, “In 1969, I was new at Mercury. Benny got off of the bus, came to my office and said ‘I want to sing for you.’ I knew right away that he had potential. I have enjoyed working with him throughout his career." In 1980, Mardones' song "Into the Night" reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Into the Night" charted a second time in 1989 when Phoenix radio station KZZP, who had a reputation as “bring back” station, decided to bring it back in 1989, courtesy of the station’s Bob Case, Gene Baxter and Michelle Santosuosso. Scott Shannon, then program director for Pirate Radio in Los Angeles, added "Into the Night" to its playlist. Other stations across the country followed suit and "Into the Night" was a hit once more, peaking at No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. Curb Records signed Mardones and he recorded "Into the Night ('89)." The track appeared on his self-titled release that year, which Diamond produced. Diamond updated, "Now there is the new recording with a great arrangement by Ted Perlman.” This resulted in “Into the Night 2019,” which charted in Billboard for a third time, as a dance record. Diamond concluded, “Benny is a three-in-one-hit wonder, now memorialized in pop music history for having the same song, with different recordings, different labels, different decades and different centuries chart three different times.” Benny co-wrote “Into the Night” with another one-hit wonder Robert Tepper, who is best known for his 1986 song “No Easy Way Out” from the Rocky IV film and soundtrack.

Benny Mardones Into

Mardones’ 1978 debut album, Thank God For Girls, had a lot of promise. The album’s opening number “All For a Reason,” written by the Alessi brothers, had a hit potential sound. The team at the Private Stock record label released it as a single and kept the entire five minute length, as it was featured on the album, supported by strong female background vocals. Unfortunately, this single did not chart in the Top 100. Things improved drastically with his second album in 1980, Never Run, Never Hide, on the Polydor label, containing “Into the Night.” 

Throughout his career, Mardones was an exciting live performer including opening for Peter Frampton. His television appearances included American Bandstand, The Midnight Special, The Merv Griffin Show and The Toni Tennille Show. Mardones, a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, was born in Cleveland, Ohio and died in his home in Menifee, California on June 29 at the age of 73, with his wife Jane by his side.

Joel Diamond and Benny Mardones, photo courtesy of Joel Diamond

Joel Diamond and Benny Mardones, photo courtesy of Joel Diamond