Great Rock Albums of 1988: Pat Benatar- Wide Awake in Dreamland

You know you’re becoming domesticated when you hear about a new album from a television chart show. My introduction to the legendary Pat Benatar’s 1988 album, “Wide Awake in Dreamland,” came as a result of the single, “All Fired Up,” being played on the British show, “Top of the Pops.” At the time, it was a breath of fresh air after all the Stock, Aiken and Waterman bubble gum pop that seemed to be on the programme every week. What was more is that when I heard “All Fired Up,” I was glad that Pat seemed to be returning to her harder rock roots after some of the more keyboard oriented albums of the mid 1980s.

First of all, this album isn’t a complete rocker in comparison to her first three albums but as I said, it was a step in that direction. “All Fired Up” is a good example, it didn’t displace any of my older favourites but it was a good rock song. What I have come to appreciate more in my advancing years is that the album changes things up quite a bit. Second track, “One Love” is a great example of this. It is more of a ballad and her vocals are superb as always but there are some interesting guitar hooks and some overall good musicianship on it.

Rock returns on “Let’s Stay Together” and I will say here what I’ve said on practically every Pat Benatar album I’ve posted about. Neil Giraldo is an awesome guitarist who deserves more respect for his talent. However, it’s the middle of the album which really gets going. Actually, the rocking starts in the second half of “Don’t Walk Away” as the first half is more of a ballad. “Too Long a Soldier,” “Cool Zero” and “Cerebral Man” are all powerful rockers. Let me backtrack one second, “Too Long a Soldier” isn’t a rocker in the traditional sense but the haunting guitar with Pat’s voice go well in delivering a powerful message and Neil does hammer out a cool guitar solo, therefore, it gets my vote for hidden gem. The other two mentioned tracks are definite rockers and take me back to Pat’s early days with her rocking vocals and Neil laying down some cool solos. For me, this is the best part of the album.

While not as hard rocking, the final three songs are indeed interesting. A very prominent bassline carries “Lift ’em All Up” and some cool guitar and keyboard hooks provide great support. Pat delivers a strong message in the anti- child abuse song, “Suffer the Little Children.” This is more a ballad but her message is clear. The closing title track takes the album out in rocking fashion.

Track Listing:

  1. All Fired Up
  2. One Love
  3. Let’s Stay Together
  4. Don’t Walk Away
  5. Too Long a Soldier
  6. Cool Zero
  7. Cerebral Man
  8. Lift’em On Up
  9. Suffer the Little Children
  10. Wide Awake in Dreamland
Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar- vocals

Neil Giraldo- guitar

Myron Grombacher- drums

Fernando Saunders- bass

Frank Linx- bass, backing vocals

Charles Giordano- keyboards

Kevin Savigar- keyboards

Bob Castro- percussion

Nick Gilder- backing vocals on “Don’t Walk Away” and “Cool Zero”

Carmen Twillie, Phyllis St. James, Maxine Water- backing vocals on “Lift ’em On Up”

While Pat Benatar never actually went anywhere, I thought it was great that she returned to her roots more with “Wide Awake in Dreamland.” This is a more developed and mature Pat Benatar in the musical sense but the album still rocks.

Next post: Robert Palmer- Heavy Nova

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

To sign the petition to give Bruce Dickinson a much deserved knighthood, click the link: https://www.change.org/p/special-honours-committees-for-knighthoods-a-knighthood-for-bruce-dickinson

8 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1988: Pat Benatar- Wide Awake in Dreamland”

  1. Loved this album back in the day. She’s a quality artist and surrounds herself with excellent musicians.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good to see you’ve posted this album and in my view should be classed as the companion to 1982’s Get Nervous as a lot of songs eg. All Fired Up,Don’t Walk Away and Wide Awake In dreamland would not have been out of place on Get Nervous and vice versa.Also the title track itself puts me in mind of There’s The Girl by Heart from their 1987 album Bad Animals and you could easily imagine Nancy Wilson taking lead on this song and that you can imagine Ann Wilson tearing into All Fired Up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree it’s a pretty close comparison between “Get Nervous” and “Wide Awake in Dreamland.” The Wilson Sisters and Pat were all great rock vocalists so it’s possible they would sound really good if they sang the others’ songs.

      Like

  3. One of my favorite Pat albums and yes, Neil is awesome. The two together are peanut butter and jelly. You can’t have one without the other and why would you want it that way.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nick Gilder of Hot Child In The City and Roxy Roller fame. Cool stuff…

    Liked by 1 person

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