Benny Mardones, the singer-songwriter best known for his 1980 soft rock hit “Into the Night,” has died at 73 from complications after a two-decades battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Friend and producer Joel Diamond confirmed Mardones’ death to Billboard. A memorial service will be announced soon for the singer.
Mardones was born in 1946 in Cleveland and grew up in Savage, Md. He joined the Navy after high school, serving in the Vietnam War, then moved to New York to pursue songwriting. After several years of writing for other artists (including Brenda Lee), he launched his own solo career in the late ’70s — first opening for Richie Havens on tour in 1977, then issuing his debut LP, Thank God for Girls, in 1978.
That first album featured a high-profile crew: producer Andrew Loog Oldham (who managed and produced the Rolling Stones from 1963 to 1967), David Bowie‘s regular guitarist Mick Ronson and Humble Pie drummer Jerry Shirley. But Mardones didn’t find his breakthrough until 1980’s Never Run, Never Hide, which spawned the soulful “Into the Night.”
Mardones co-wrote his signature ballad with Robert Tepper, who earned his own solo hit six years later with “No Easy Way Out” (featured on the Rocky IV soundtrack). While “Into the Night” wound up as Mardones’ only mainstream hit, two versions of the tune actually made Billboard’s Hot 100 chart: the original 1980 recording and a revamped 1989 take featured on his self-titled fourth LP. (A 2019 remix of the track peaked at No. 35 on the Dance Club Songs chart.)
The singer’s career slowed in the following decade, but he did continue to perform live and record throughout the ’90s and ’00s — even following his Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2000. He released his final studio project, Timeless, in 2015.