Video Killed the Radio Star :: Pat Benatar :: Love is a Battlefield

Love is a Battlefield was released in 1983, on the album Live From Earth. It was a rainy afternoon, and my mom was in one of those moods that meant grab the keys and her purse and head to the record store. We did not always, or even often, veer into each other’s musical tastes, but this album was one of the exceptions. I played it more, though, and it ended up in one of my milk crates full of vinyl when I eventually moved out on my own.

I used to keep these composition books full of songs, and later videos, that I loved. This was one of the videos that I drew a star next to, and that played in heavy rotation in those early days of high school. Some of my favorite videos are the ones that tell a story, and that play out like a mini-movie. There was a strength that I perceived in Pat’s runaway turned Taxi Dancer/Los Angeles street hooker; and she was more than a bit appealing to a girl who also lived in a dysfunctional household. I loved the sisterhood implied in this, the costumes, the survivor spirit that was woven into all of details and plot.

My perception was skewed. I failed to recognize the desperation and sadness, from the family and the runaway. And, to be honest, this is in no way a realistic portrayal of living on the streets and selling your body in order to live. At that time, though, I saw it all through adolescent eyes and a restless, and ready to run, heart. I wore torn up fabric in my short dyed hair, dancing around my rock and pop postered bedroom, trying to breathe in some of that bravery I thought I saw.

I remember my mom watching the video with me once and saying to me, in a very serious tone, “Don’t ever say that to your child, no matter how upset they make you. Don’t ever say they can’t come back home”. For some reason those words stuck, and I tucked them away in some recess of my memory to pull out if I ever needed to; though I cannot see ever being pushed to that with my children. But, those words are with me, all the same.

The first time my oldest daughter and I watched this video together she asked me, with laughter, “So mom, is that the scare away a pimp dance? shake your boobs and raise your hands in the air?” We both ended up in a fit of laughter at this, and gave our best impression of the scared pimp, and the scare away dance. Actually, watching it again right now I am curious as to whether the same choreographer who worked on Michael Jackson’s Thriller did this one, as well. I mean, look at it? Just paint up the girls as zombies and there you go.

(Editor’s note: It was the same choreographer of both Love is a Battlefield and Thriller).

Again another Halloween costume idea springs to mind, for another year…perhaps I should just throw an eighties party one of these days.

“We are young,
heartache to heartache we stand,
no promises, no demands.
Love is a battlefield.”

Love is a Battlefield :: Pat Benatar

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