Benny Mardones, rock and soul singer-songwriter behind the ’80s smash and radio perennial “Into the Night,” died today at his home in Menifee, California. His passing was confirmed to Billboard by longtime friend and record producer Joel Diamond, resulting from complications following a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 73.
Mardones was born in Cleveland, Ohio and grew up in Savage, Maryland, joining the Navy out of high school to serve in the Vietnam War. Following his discharge, he moved to New York to become a songwriter, where he was enlisted by Diamond to be a staff songwriter for Mercury Records, penning material for stars like Brenda Lee and Tommy James. Various other credits followed, and in the late ’70s Mardones also became a performing artist, opening for folk-rocker Richie Havens on tour in 1977 and releasing debut album Thank God For Girls the year after.
Despite impressive pedigree, including guitar work from David Bowie sideman Mick Ronson and production from Rolling Stones go-to collaborator Andrew Loog Oldham, the album failed to produce a hit. But Mardones’ next effort, 1980’s Never Run, Never Hide, spawned what would quickly become his signature song: the mega-ballad “Into the Night.”
In 2000, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease — though he still performed regularly until the mid-’10s, when his condition started to become more unmanageable. In 2017, he announced that a performance of “Into the Night” at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in New York would be his final time playing the song. However, “Night” would impact the Billboard charts one more time in 2019, when a remix of the song (produced by Diamond) hit the Dance Club Songs listing, eventually peaking at No. 35.
Mardones is survived by his wife Jane, as well as his son Michael and sister Louise. According to a press release from his family, a memorial service will be announced for him in the near future.