Benny’s 16 year-old love affair

February 3, 2008 at 4:00 pm (Music, Nympholept)

Benny Mardones exploded onto the music scene in 1980 and was quickly nicknamed “the Voice” due to his incredible vocal range and soulful, passionate performance of his signature song Into the Night. The track became an instant nationwide radio classic, topped the charts twice, and remains one of the most frequently played tunes in radio history. It is estimated that Into the Night has been played more than 4,000,000 times in the US alone.

She’s just sixteen years old
Leave her alone, they say
Separated by fools
Who don’t know what love is yet
But I want you to know –

If I could fly
I’d pick you up
I’d take you into the night
And show you a love
Like you’ve never seen – ever seen.

It’s like having a dream
Where nobody has a heart
It’s like having it all
And watching it fall apart
And I would wait till the end of time for you
And do it again, it’s true
I can’t measure my love
There’s nothing to compare it to
But I want you to know


Long disputed over the meaning of the songs lyrics (the song is a giulty pleasure for Gilding’s Mother, in fact, for this very reason)–is it pedophilia or is it fatherly. It can’t be helped that even by the purest intented mind the lyrics conjure up that guilty tingle of arousal for love of a forbidden fruit. However, Mardones’ friends hold steadfast that the song was written about a young girl who lived across the hallway from the singer/songwriter, and is in fact an expression of desire to remove the girl from her abusive family and show her the love a father SHOULD give his child.

From the perspective of Gilding’s once 16 year-old self, the song always sent a titillating fantasy spinning in her daydream filled head of having the innocent sexual prowess enough to seduce the gorgeous older man of her dreams. Yep, Gilding thinks she likes her version better. Forbidden sex it is!

Listen to the song: Into the Night


  1. Bea said,

    this song is awesome! OMG! im crying about the meaning of this song….
    =) I lOve It!

  2. Tabby said,

    The song was written about a girl who lived in Benny’s building. Her father had run out on the family. Benny hired her to walk his dog. He and Bobby Tepper had been up writing songs all night when she came to the door to get the dog. She was all dressed up and looked very pretty. It was Bobby who said “Oh my” as she walked out the door to which Benny replied “She’s 16 years old. Leave her alone.”

  3. david 1980 said,

    great information!! great song

  4. Dana said,

    When this song came out I was 16 dating a 20 yr old…..’nuff said…

    • Gilding said,

      LOL…Gilding does have to say, for all of Benny’s protesting, it does begin to sound like a case of doth protesteth too much. The song just jives like a dirty little love song of a cradle robbing gentleman. Not that Gilding is objecting; at 16 she had many a fantasy of being stolen away by men much older than her, and the idea that they would be…::ahem::…very experienced only made it that much hotter.

  5. p. hunt said,

    Why is everyone such jerks! Its a damn song, with a nice melody, great lyrics and it sounds good. And if you wanted to put something behind it, then how about this: He says that he would wait until the end of time for her, therefore, he’s not trying to molest her, he’s not a pedophile. No matter what he feels, he obviously hasn’t done anything sordid, cuz, he say’s IF HE HAD WINGS, HE’D TAKE HER INTO THE NIGHT, but obviously, since he’s a human, and not a bird, he doesn’t have wings, which means he’s not going to do anything but love her. Cuz if he wanted to, he could just use his freaking legs and walk to wherever she is, grap her by the hand and lead her to anyplace he wanted. So, all OF YOU PERVERTED MINDED PEOPLE, get a grip and just accept the song for what the heck it is…A DAMN SONG!!!!

    • Gilding said,

      LOL..well to quote the phrase Gilding’s mother loves to use on her, “Why don’t you tell us how you really feel.” You know, for all intents and purposes, the vast majority pf people don’t believe that good ole Benny is a pedo. If they did, his song wouldn’t be as prolific as it is today. However, music is meant to evoke emotion. A great many girls of or near the age of 16 spanning three decades didn’t think Benny was out to get them, but the song can’t help but evoke a passionate desire for an older man to sweep us up off our feet. And THAT is the fond memory that many women – and probably a vast majority of feminite gay boy-tweens–associate with this song. It may not have been Benny’s intention, but there is a reciprocating party at the other end of this song and from our point of view, we wanted Pappa Benny to “take us” into the night. The voice alone smolders with desire. Again, it doesn’t have to be Benny’s intention for someone to find his voice or his lyrics attractive. You can keep your wholesome Benny, but Gilding prefers to listen to the song with images of her barely legal self being lovingly carried away by an attractive older man with black hair, blue eyes, eye lashes so dark and thick they are curtains for his eyes and butterfly kisses on her tummy. Oh, while we’re making a wish list for perfect said older gentleman, he must have Roman hands and Russian fingers. Yep, Gilding said it. Thank you Benny for the persistent fantasy of Gilding’s dreams. And she doesn’t regret it–not one bit. Go be wholesome; Gilding would rather be a whore in fantasy if she can’t be one in real life.

      ~<3 Gilding

  6. Stardreamer said,

    Thank you for this beautiful webpage dedicated to one of my favourite songs. I, like many people, have my own story connected to this song. I remember when I was a depressed, lonely teenage girl, who often used to get bullied at school. Soon after I turned 16, I got an extra large dose of bullying from mean girls at school and then I was at home, still brooding over their words. I was also studying for important school tests at the same time while wearing my headphones and listening to some music. Then suddenly this song started playing on the radio. That was the very first time I heard this song ‘Into the Night’ and I fell in love with it. Since then, this song is very special to me.

    I have always interpreted this song as a very romantic and passionate love song. I respect other people’s opinions about this song, no offense meant to those who have a different opinion from mine. From my point of view though, as hard as I try, I just can’t see it as a song about a father-like love towards the girl in the song. It is sang just sounds too passionately for that, especially towards the end😉 plus the lyrics of ‘flying away together into the night’ can quite possibly be interpreted to have a romantic/sexual meaning. I think the guy in the song says ‘I would wait till the end of time for you’…meaning he is willing to wait till can be together. However long it takes.

    So to me this is one of my most favourite songs, in the same category as ‘As The World Falls Down’ by David Bowie from Labyrinth soundtrack and ‘Music of The Night’ from The Phantom of The Opera (especially the version sang by Michael Crawford on the Original London Cast Highlights CD).

    Thanks again for this webpage, Gilding.

    Peace to everyone.


    • Stardreamer said,

      Interesting topic: I see nothing wrong with having so called forbidden fantasies, as long as they are just fantasies, no harm done. E.g. the more I listen to the song, the more it reminds me of The Phantom of The Opera (2004), where the girl (Christine) is 16 years old. Except I imagine The Phantom having a different voice, than in the movie. Is POTO (2004) a popular dark fantasy? Yes. It is fun to imagine different endings. Real life is different from fantasy, I know that. So I can say I agree with Guilding on that one.

      P.S. Oh and I’m not saying that this is what the songwriters meant in the song, but the beauty of art is that it can be interpreted in many ways by different people. At least this is what I think.

  7. ranne said,

    I never thought of it as a song about someone who was way older than the girl, I always just thought it was a guy who was like 19 yr old or something, just a little too old by some people’s standards but nothing terrible. Just my 2 cents.

    By the way, I’ve always loved this song. =) One of my absolute favs!

  8. roger said,

    i think this song is great and plus if this song was about a love affair like the way everybody else makes it seem I don’t think that it would have even been a one hit wonder or even have recorded it for that matter. That’s in my opinion.

    • Gilding said,

      Seriously, why does it matter what the singer, songwriter, or singer-songwriter of the song meant for the lyrics to mean. That’s only half of the importance of the song. Isn’t it more important what the song means, says, inspires, etc, in you, the listener. If this song makes you dream of daddy issues then so be it. If the song makes you fantasize about being touched in naughty ways by the neighbor next door that happens to be hot, OH, and 15 years your senior essentially making everything he does to you a case of Lolita-philia, then so be it–you have a much better imagination anyway. I don’t think its wrong no matter which side of the lyrical fence you fancy. I have clearly stated in the post and over and over again in my comments that Benny had good ole intentions and that to ME the lyrics conjure up a whole other scenario. Perhaps I’ve been saying this wrong all along–I don’t know–but I’ll say it this way. I’m not accusing Benny of saying one thing but secretly and deviously meaning another. I’m saying that when I listen to the lyrics it says to me something different, albeit naughtier. I do not find it wrong to feel the songs lyrics fit my fantasy version simply because Benny decided to be a eunuch with his message. As I said, why does it matter what Benny intended the lyrics to mean. I’m the listener. I should have a right to view those lyrics in whatever context I want. And since I’m a listener, I have just as much power in making Benny’s one hit wonder a hit as you are. There are just as many people out there imagining the same girlish fantasy of being the forbidden love as there are people loving this song as a sweet lullaby of undying parental love. Can’t there be both in the world. Why does the connection I have with the song have to be wrong simply because Benny says his intention was otherwise. I didn’t come from an abusive home. My father didn’t beat me. I didn’t need a neighbor to rescue me and show me fatherly love. If I am to take this song only as Benny’s intentions then I have no connection with it whatsoever. Why is it wrong that I have connected it to some other meaning. Something that I DO have a connection with. Because it bothers some people that at 16 I was capable of having sexual desires. Biologically, at 16 I am producing all the same hormones as a sexual of age woman. Just because at 16 I may not have had all the finesse of a sexually experienced woman doesn’t mean I couldn’t have fantasize that I did. Nor, now that I’m older and a woman, does that mean that I can’t fantasize about be 16 again and ravished by an older gentleman. For me, this song means a forbidden love because that is how I identify with it. I can know Benny’s intention and still have my own. I think that music does that for everyone. So when you say that this song wouldn’t have been a bit simply because I choose to identify the lyrics with a forbidden love, I think this is foolhardy.

      And after that bit of confrontation I will end this comment saying I love that this post has drummed up so much conversation and I value all opinions expressed here.

      • Stardreamer said,

        Oh no…I accidentally posted the reply to myself on this page, instead of replying to Guilding >.< sorry about that. I won't double post, I'll just say that my 2nd comment is further up the page.

        Oh and I've been listening to this song alot these couple of months. It is fun😉

      • Gilding said,

        LOL…Stardreamer, I bet you are one quirky person in person ^_~. And I agree, music and art may have the artist’s meaning attached–and its fine, even purposeful, to know it–but its the meaning YOU derive from it that makes it connect.

      • Stardreamer said,

        *apologies for the late reply…been busy

        Quote Gilding:

        “LOL…Stardreamer, I bet you are one quirky person in person ^_~”

        Well you would be too during the time that you had to work on 2 major University assignments at the same time😛 No offense or anything.

        Quote Gilding:

        “And I agree, music and art may have the artist’s meaning attached–and its fine, even purposeful, to know it–but its the meaning YOU derive from it that makes it connect.”

        I agree with that. That is very true and well said in my opinion.

        I do love this song very much, I even made 2 fan music videos using this song.
        Though I know this is your webpage, Gilding, so not sure if I’m allowed to post links to the fan videos I mentioned here. I just mentioned this here to show that I love this song very much🙂

      • Gilding said,

        Sure, Stardreamer! Post those links to your fan vids.

      • Stardreamer said,

        Thanks Gilding🙂

        1) This video to the song ‘Into The Night’ using videoclips from ‘The Phantom of The Opera’ 2004. It is about Christine (who in this version of the film is 16 years old) and her Angel of Music aka The Phantom:

        song used: Into The Night by Benny Mardones (1980 version)

        2) This video using videoclips from various films and music videos to create another fantasy/love story to fit with a possoble meaning of the song:

        Story synopsis:

        Laura is a girl about 16 years old, living with her father. Her father is strict and emotionally distant. He also does not approve of Laura’s wishing to be with an older guy, a musician. The guy loves her too, but they can’t be together because her father and society do not approve. One day Laura gets into an argument with her father and he slaps her. Hurt and upset, after dinner Laura goes into her room. Then she enters a dream (fantasy) world where the guy she loves becomes a powerful magician and comes to rescue her and to take her into the night. He joins within the crystal his dreams about her and memories of when they first met as well as her dreams and hopes of them being together. Then within the magic of the crystal dream they are finally reunited.

        song used: Into The Night by Benny Mardones (1980 version)

        video link:

        I hope whoever is reading this page will enjoy my videos.


      • Stardreamer said,

        Haven’t visited this page for a while. Hi Gilding *waves*🙂

        I notice that some people say they like to think that the man in the song is only a couple of years older than the girl. I think one can tell this song is sang by an older man than the girl. I mean usually young men don’t sing like that, unless maybe they are French, Spanish or Italian😛 Seriously the man in the song sounds more ‘experienced in life’, if I can put it that way, than a young man.😉

        Also, thanks Gilding for making my fan videos watchable on your web-page not just the links.

        Best Wishes,


  9. Chireez Lategan said,

    This is the best song ever and it will never ever fade cause its the best old time song and the words makes me wanna cry

    • jason said,

      I agree the song always did catch my ear and then when i learned the meaning behind it i just feel in love with it the story is so beautiful when you look at it.

  10. Larry Marl said,

    Stardreamer, well done. I throughly enjoyed your videos.

    • Star-Dreamer said,

      Larry Marl: thank you very much for the comment! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my videos😀

  11. Larry Marl said,

    Gilding, not sure of all the details, you sound though as if you do have your kit all together. Love the story behind ” the song “.

  12. ShiaDobgerry said,

    I have loved this song for a long time, too, and I also have always liked to believe it was about a forbidden romance… If she is only 16, then even a guy of 19 or 20 could be banned by her parents, so even if Benny himself was 33 when he recorded the song, the guy singing it doesn’t have to be *that* old. I’ve since read the back story about helping out the distraught teenage neighbor girl when her father left the family, as supplied by Benny and noted on various websites. I can believe it was the inspiration for this song. But it doesn’t stop me from applying my own interpretation–which I like much better!
    The original video has recently been put up on YouTube: Benny goes to his teen girlfriend’s house but is ordered away by a stern looking Dad. Then he calls her from a pay phone to declare his love, and it ends with him jumping in through her bedroom window with a flying carpet and… taking her ‘into the night’ and they lie down on the carpet and he kisses her. Um, whatever the inspiration behind the song, the video makes pretty sure that the average viewer would see it as a teenager in love with an older guy! Benny looks pretty hot in the video but he certainly looks around 30, and the actress playing the girls dresses and acts like a shy young teenager. Anyway, doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks–if you love the song, you love it for whatever reasons and that is what counts! And what a voice Benny has. Amazing. One of the best.

  13. Marly said,

    Check out Benny Mardones at, follow him on Twitter and Blip.FM…and while you’re at it, check out his 3 pages on Facebook…most importantly, drop by his Official Fan Page
    Benny currently resides in Playa del Rey, California but considers Syracuse, NY his “home”…and he still performs there several times each year. Benny has written and record dozens of songs.
    He is known as “The Voice” and has the pipes to prove why!
    You can hear Benny tell the story of “Into The Night” here:

  14. Star-Dreamer said,

    I have suddenly realised that in my fan videos to the song, both guys (Gerard Butler and Ville Valo) are Scorpio, according to IMDB and their interviews, and Benny Mardones is a Scorpio as well. They say the Phantom (played by Gerard Butler and in the original novel by G. Leroux) is a Scorpio too. Talk about coincidences😉

    In any case, a passionate, beautiful song like that is suited to be sang by a Scorpio, IMHO, hehe

  15. anahata said,

    i was 16 years old riding in a car with my dad on the highway. we weren’t saying much to each other and this song came on… from the first line.. AWKWARD!!!!

  16. Star-Dreamer said,

    Thanks gilding. Saty, the moderator from thanks you. I love your art blog.


  17. Damian said,

    Ok guys. i am on hear because i just heard this song, which i have always loved since i was a small child. As an adult, i have ALWAYS felt there were sexual connotations/”improper relationship vibes” to this song. So Ive come to the internet to see what others had to say. i CANT buy, for the life of me, the “fatherly love/fatherly figure” take on this. So, I figured I would go on YouTube and find it. Not only did i find it, let me tell you, there is NO WAY after seeing the original, 1980 video posted by Evo161AOR, that he meant that song IN ANY WAY to resemble “a loving father figure”. The video starts with him at the door of his “love interest”, being shooed away by what appears to be, wait for it…. The girls father! He them creeps around to aside window and admires his beloved. He calls her while singing the lyrics, the we get to the climactic finally, when the girl apparently lets him in through her bedroom window. He lays down a carpet, takes her by the hand and they both sit down. The carpet becomes a magic “flying carpet, and they commence making out on it. I used to love this song…. And now….. I TOTALLY love and amazed by it. Cheers!

    • Marsha Burd said,

      If the song isn’t about Benny and a 16 yr.old then why the passionate kiss at the end of the video. I would have loved to have been that girl I am now 49. No father kisses there 16yr.old daughter like that it’s a cover for the secret romance between Benny and Hedi.

  18. HAPPY FOR LOVE said,

    hes a pedophile

  19. lysa said,

    This song is about a pedophile nothing else said that’s the exact truth. No man should be interested in a child whether he is dreaming about it or otherwise fantasy about it. Dirty ass old ugly cradle robber.

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