Martina McBride and Pat Benatar perform together on the latest episode of CMT Crossroads debuting Friday (Dec. 12) at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Two powerhouse vocalists share the best of country and rock when Martina McBride and Pat Benatar meet for the latest edition of CMT Crossroads.
Explaining the similarities between their styles, McBride tells CMT News, “I’ve read reviews of my show … review after review … that said, ‘She’s the Pat Benatar of country music.’ You know, ‘She looks like Pat Benatar.’ … So there is a similarity.” With a big smile, McBride adds, “It’s cool. It’s cool for me.”
One of the hottest rock acts of the ’80s, Benatar is a four-time Grammy winner who has seven platinum albums to her credit. In 1981, Benatar’s version of “You Better Run” became the first video by a female artist — and the second ever to run on the new cable network, MTV. With the support of her husband, guitarist Neil Giraldo, Benatar’s hits include “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “Promises in the Dark,” “We Belong” and “Heartbreaker.”
McBride is quick to acknowledge that she’s been “a fan forever,” and Benatar jumped at the chance to team up for the CMT Crossroads performance. “I knew she was a great singer,” Benatar says. “I love great singing. I just thought this would be a really fun thing to try and do together.”
At the recent TV taping in Nashville, the two singers shared vocals on several of their biggest songs. Those familiar with McBride’s vocal talent won’t be disappointed when she soars through Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” On the other hand, country fans may be surprised to hear the rock singer tackle McBride’s “Independence Day” and “When God Fearin’ Women Get the Blues.”
Noting that she used to perform Benatar’s songs in local bands, McBride notes, “When I sing Pat’s songs … I hear myself sounding kind of like her. It’s not something I do on purpose, but it just comes out that way.”
Benatar enjoyed learning McBride’s material. “One of the best parts about having to do something like this is you have to sit with somebody’s record for a long time to learn songs,” Benatar explains. “So it’s not like a casual listening that you would do if you were just being a consumer. I had to listen to the record probably 150 times, so I really got to know all the parts and all the lyrics and everything.
“But what also happens is that you really get inside the whole vocal thing and the lyrics and the arrangements and everything. It gets … in your blood. It gets in there, so you really get to appreciate it so much more by spending that much time with it. … It becomes like one of your songs. You have to really dissect it, so you can know it like you do your own.”
Pointing to the intelligence and strength Benatar projects as an artist, McBride says, “I was drawn to that — to her as a performer and as a person and as a personality when I was … forming all my ideas about what I wanted to be and what kind of singer and performer I wanted to be. I was definitely drawn to Pat because of her strength. That really came across to me and made a big impression on me.”
Clearly flattered by McBride’s comment, Benatar laughs, “For me, it’s great because I get to see, um, the aftermath. You’re doing these things out there, and you wonder if anybody’s listening, paying attention. I mean, you know they are, but it’s great to see what happens when somebody did pay attention.”
McBride says, “Oh, I paid attention.”