Singer-songwriter Benny Mardones, whose hit “Into the Night” made two appearances on the top 20 of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, died Monday, his friend and record producer Joel Diamond announced. He was 73.
Mardones, a Vietnam veteran, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2000.
“Life has a beginning and an end for all of us,” Diamond said in a brief Mardones biography he released, “but one thing that will always be said of Benny Mardones is that he definitely squeezed the tube-of-life completely dry.”
Mardones, who also wrote songs for stars such as Brenda Lee and Three Dog Night, achieved a rare success with “Into the Night.” It reached No. 11 when it was released in 1980. A re-release in 1989 hit No. 20 on the Billboard chart, putting the singer-songwriter in a select group of performers who’ve made the list twice with the same song, according to Diamond.
A ballad version of the song, released last year, also made it onto the charts, but not into the top 20.
The song has been played more than 8 million times, according to Diamond.
After Mardones moved to Syracuse, New York, in the 1980s, a local radio station asked him to do a concert for $8,000, according to the bio. A few days before the show, Mardones asked who he would be opening for and was surprised to hear that he was the headliner.
When he walked onstage, Mardones saw a capacity crowd of 12,000 people and had to leave the stage during his first song because he was crying, the bio said.
“The crowd saw my emotional breakdown, and it only inspired them to start chanting my name,” he recalled, according to the bio. “From that day on, my tour dates began and ended in Central New York.”
Mardones, who was born Ruben Armand Mardones in Cleveland, Ohio, is survived by his wife, Jane, his son, Michael, and his sister, Louise.