Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Quarterflash's "Harden My Heart" - The Best Song Pat Benatar Never Made

Many are the fans of '80s rock who bought a Pat Benatar Greatest Hits album and wondered, "Hey, where's 'Harden My Heart'?" It wasn't there. It wasn't there ... because "Harden My Heart" isn't a song by Pat Benatar.

Say what? I could have sworn on Optimus Prime's grave that this song was by Pat Benatar. Quarterflash? Who the hell was Quarterflash?

Quarterflash ... were your worst nightmare.

Quarterflash had a lead singer, Rindy Ross, who not only sounded like Pat Benatar, but she also played the saxophone. Could Pat Benatar play the saxophone? Didn't think so.

On their biggest hit, the band's secret weapon is present right from the get-go. That is some dynamite '80s sax riffage right there. That is saxophone playing so nasty it would make Gerry Rafferty blush. As a singer, Rindy may display some odd vocal ticks, like turning "tears" into "tee-aaars" and "time" into "dime," but I kind of dig it. In the end, "Harden My Heart" always makes me think of a cheap casino in Reno circa 1983. In fact, the video may have very well been filmed outside a cheap casino in Reno.

Allow me, if you will, to describe the video for "Harden My Heart." First of all, we've got Rindy running around in a black leotard, with frizzy hair, in some sort of dark, endless hallway with imitation wood paneling and swaying light bulbs. What is she running from? The saxophone? She steps into a cloud of florescent pink fog, and emerges surrounded by diminutive ladies juggling flaming torches. You know, the usual.

Then she's sitting at a dressing room table in the middle of a rock quarry with a group of ... "child" Rindys? I don't really know how else to describe them. Then she's playing the saxophone in a giant puddle while guys on motorcycles hover around her. At one point, the drummer actually uses the motorcyclists' helmets for drums. I wonder if Tom Waits ever thought of that one. Suddenly she's on the back of a motorcycle in a tux. At the 2:53 mark, arguably the best part of the song, when the guitarist really kicks it into overdrive, the video cuts to the requisite shot of said guitarist stroking the strings with particular force.

Ah, but Quarterflash is just warming up! Literally. Because now there's a guy with a motorcycle helmet and flame thrower. What is this, Fahrenheit 451? Finally, Rindy steps out of the hallway with bad imitation wood paneling, and then a bulldozer comes along and crushes the building that she's supposedly just been running around in, although it is obviously not the same building, because it is much too small. And then the guy in a tux with flame thrower walks up and sets the collapsed remains of the "obviously not the real building" on fire.

What does it mean, Quarterflash? What does it mean??


Herr Zrbo said...

Now THAT was a pretty damn good video. It really does look like she's running around the Sands Regency hotel in Reno! (it still looks like that too). But yeah, the video is pretty high on the 80s videos of random-stuff-happening-for-no-apparent-reason scale.

I can just imagine for that final shot the director saying "ok, we've only got one try cause that fake house we built is coming down, and then Eddie's gonna burn it for good measure, so make sure you come out on cue and hop on that motorbike, or else!"

Little Earl said...

No, they probably had one back-up fake house, but I'll bet it didn't look as good.

Anonymous said...

thanks for share.

Nekia Butler said...

Good rundown of video events.

Anonymous said...

wow after all these years and always thought Pat Benatar was part of quarterflash band!!!!....holy dissapointment lol

mattcintosh2 said...

Check out this song called "Harden my heart" by a group called "Seafood Mama"


Unknown said...

Its the same band. They renamed themselves and re-recorded the song then released it nationally. This version was on a small local label in Oregon.