TRACKRECORD: a new section at RockUnited.com where we talk to songwriters about one of his/her songs of the past. This time, "Shadows Of The Night",  composed by New Jersey's D.L. BYRON and best known for it's 1982 Grammy award winning version by PAT BENATAR. However, two other female rockers recorded it already back in 1981 (read on to find out). Arista's legendary Clive Davis signed Byron looking to find an American version of Elvis Costello or Graham Parker. In 1980, Listen to the Heartbeat, was a hit single and Byron toured the U.S. opening for Bob Seger and the Boomtown Rats. BYRON wrote songs for Drive She Said and other artists and this very hit single (Shadows Of The Night) enjoys a prominent spot in the musical and upcoming 2012 Tom Cruise movie/film "Rock Of Ages" . It's back to the eighties, it's time to find out more about "Shadows of The Night". Here's: D.L. BYRON...

"The song initially was an assignment from Jimmy Iovine. Jimmy had just finished producing my debut recording, "This Day and Age" and became music director for the Stigwood film, "Times Square" This film was intended to be the 'Punk" version of "Saturday Night Fever". He took me aside and gave me the basic story line for the film. Rich girl meets Runaway, they run off together and hide on a pier on the Hudson river. They will only communicate with a late night DJ, played by Tim Curry. The rich girl's father is a politician etc. Even though most of my work at the time was guitar based, I went home and sat at the piano. It was one of those "once in a lifetime" moments, when a song just comes through you, and you are just the conduit. "Shadows of the Night" was completed in less that 30 minutes.

All I knew is that "Shadows Of The Night" was very different that the songs that appeared on my first record. My rhythm section was out of town, so I called Gene Cornish (The Rascals) and asked him if he would ask Dino to come in and play drums. You can't simply call Dino up, he's very shy and retiring. You have to go through Gene. Dino agreed, I put some other players together and we recorded the song at the Record Plant. I think that I've just answered two questions here.

The record company had no input here at all. Much later, I submitted it for my second record, and was told by Clive Davis that it wasn't commercial enough. That's another story. Let me get back to the Stigwood film. I presented the demo to Jimmy, he loved it and wanted to use it as the opening song in the film. A few days passed, Jimmy called me at home and said that they were having trouble fitting the song into the film, but they still wanted me involved. He asked me if I would mind recording "You can't Hurry Love". We got together and he handed me a cassette of a live recording by Graham Parker doing the song. I agreed to give it a go, by the way, this was a long time before the Phil Collins recording.

When I was told by Arista that it "Shadows Of The Night" wasn't acceptable, I was rather miffed. I just knew that the song was a hit, if not for me, then for some other artist. I gave a cassette copy to my drummer Thommy Price, he was going to Germany with Helen Schneider. Helen recorded it and it 5X Platinum in Germany and the Benelux countries. Then I got a call fro Rachael Sweet's people wanting to meet with me. Rachael wanted to record the song, but change some of the lyrics, she also wanted a piece of the copyright. I told her that I permit her to change some lyrics, but there would be no copyright participation. She agreed and cut the song.

By this time I started to think much bigger, so I called a meeting with an A&R rep at Chrysalis Records. I presented them with the original "full band" demo along with Rachael's version, saying that I thought that it might be a good song for Pat Benatar. The agreed to check it out. I heard nothing for 9 months, in fact I had forgotten about it. One day my phone rings, and it's the same A&R rep from Chrysalis, saying that they think that they have convinced her to do the song, but she also wanted to change some lyrics. Of course they also wanted a piece of the publishing as well. I told him basically the same thing that I told Rachael. Pat can do what she wants, within reason, but no publishing. As it turns out the song was already in the can and slated to be the first single from her "Get Nervous" LP.

When I first hear the song on the radio, I was impressed until it got to the guitar solo. What was Neil doing? (Ed's note: Neil Geraldo - Pat's regular group guitarist both in a musical and personal direction). It sounded like he was strangling a pig. Oh well, it went on to sell millions of units, and Benatar won a Grammy that year for her performance.

D.L. Byron :

Interview by Urban 'Wally' Wallström

email: urban@rockunited.com
(c)2012 RockUnited.Com

Album:"Get Nervous"
Chrysalis 1982
Written by: D.L. Byron
Produced by Neil Geraldo and Peter Coleman 

The single reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the U.S. Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. It also ended up Top-12 in the album chart of Canada, etc. It's also featured in the 2012 Tom Cruise film 'Rock Of Ages' (and musical).


Helen Schneider

Rachel Sweet

D.L. Byron