Benny Mardones, the singer-songwriter who scored a top-20 hit two times during the 1980s with the soulful ballad "Into the Night," died Monday at his home in Menefee, California, at age 73 from complications of Parkinson's disease, according to Billboard.
The magazine reports that Mardones longtime friend and record producer Joel Diamond confirmed Benny's passing.
Mardones was born in Cleveland and raised in Maryland. After serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War, he got his start in the music business writing songs for such artists as Brenda Lee, Tommy James and Chubby Checker.
He launched his solo career in the late 1970s, and in 1980 scored his biggest success with "Into the Night," a song he co-wrote with Robert Tepper that peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. Billboard reports that Mardones' career soon hit a downturn, as he failed to have a follow-up hit and struggled with substance abuse during the '80s.
Then, near the end of the decade, "Into the Night" started getting airplay again on commercial radio, which prompted to record a new version of the song that made it to #20 on the Hot 100 in 1989. The song became one of the few tunes to have multiple top-20 runs on the chart.
In 2000, Mardones was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, but he continued to perform regularly until his condition made it too difficult for him to do so. Last year, a remixed version of "Into the Night," created by Diamond made it to #35 Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart.
Mardones is survived by his wife, Jane, and a son, Michael. According to Billboard, plans for a memorial service will be announced soon.
By Matt Friedlander
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