Published Jun 29, 2020Benny Mardones — an American pop singer and songwriter known best for his 1980 hit "Into the Night" — has died. News of Mardones's passing was shared by longtime friend and record producer Joel Diamond, who confirmed to Billboard that the artist died at his California home due to complications following a battle with Parkinson's disease. Mardones was 73.
Born Ruben Armand Mardones in 1946, the artist grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore and served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, ahead of landing work as a staff writer at Mercury Records' publishing division, MRC Music, in 1969.
He would pen songs for Three Dog Night, Main Ingredient, Free, Tommy James and more ahead of launching a career as a performer, attracting wider attention as an opening act for Richie Havens. Mardones would make his recording debut with 1978's Thank God for Girls, which featuring Mick Ronson on guitar and Humble Pie's Jerry Shirley on drums.
While the album wasn't a success sales-wise, sophomore follow-up Never Run, Never Hide spawned Mardones's only major hit "Into the Night." While the ballad's opening lines, detailing obsession with a teenage girl, made a number of listeners uncomfortable, the song climbed the Billboard chart to peak at No. 11 in September of 1980.
Never Run, Never Hide was followed by 1981's Too Much to Lose, though hits on the level of "Into the Night" failed to materialize. Mardones would battle substance abuse before making a move to Syracuse in the mid-'80s, reviving his career through area performances with backing band the Hurricanes to raise money and awareness for charitable causes.
"Into the Night" holds the distinction of being one of only 10 songs to ever reach the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart twice. It's second wind came in 1989, after Arizona radio station KZZP played the song for a "Where Are They Now?" segment. A re-released version of the song Mardones put on his self-titled 1989 album would become a hit once again, peaking at No. 20.
Mardones would wring even more from the hit with "Into the Night V3," a 2019 Diamond-produced remix of the song that peaked at No. 35 on the Dance Club Songs chart last year.
Mardones was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2000, but continued to tour and perform in the year that followed. He released his most recent studio album, Timeless, in 2015.