|Benatar & Giraldo|
Whilst it may be true that behind every great man is a great woman, it seems that in some circumstances, behind every great band is a great couple. I’ve been reacquainting myself with my 80s love, Pat Benatar via her ‘Ultimate Collection’ (a download snip at 40 tracks for £7) and can’t help but notice that the common theme running through her lengthy career is her relationship with guitarist, Neil Giraldo who ascends from band member and writing contributor to husband and lifelong collaborator.
There is something quite endearing about such relationships. Unlike most couples with a shared life they are not to be found in front of the TV with their tea on a tray but are more likely to be seen on that same TV doing acoustic versions of songs from their glory days. Sweet. In fact couples can be found in many places. One pairing is Debbie Harry and Chris Stein who have effectively carried Blondie through thick and thin despite their relationship floundering and Chris’s life threatening illness. Without their tenacity despite no longer being ‘an item’ the later Blondie comeback would not have happened. Whether or not this was a good thing is still open to discussion but you can’t help admiring them for trying.
Another long-lived couple is Martha Johnson and Mark Gane who are now the only survivors from the 80s phenomenon that was Martha and the Muffins. Now married, they have forged a lifelong musical partnership and still record under their faintly ridiculous name as at today.
However, before we get too complacent about the warm glow around couples in rock, let us not forget that musical history is littered with failed attempts. Those of you who have albums by Fleetwood Mac and Abba in particular will bear witness that not all paths run smoothly to musical dotage. Amongst others who fell along the way are Siouxsie/Budgie, Annie Lennox/Dave Stewart, Sonja Kristina/Stewart Copeland and many others too tedious to list. It is the failure rate that makes those that endure stand out amongst their peers. Had she lived, I envisage that Linda McCartney would’ve been a member of the elderly musical couples club, too.
It is said that married persons generally live longer than singletons, so perhaps this translates to musical couples? If so look forward to a whole string of albums from Blondie, M+M and Ms Benatar. Hmm.