Ruben Armand “Benny” Mardones (November 9, 1946 – June 29, 2020) was an American pop singer and songwriter noted for his hit single “Into the Night,” which hit the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart twice, in 1980 (#11) and again in 1989 (#20).
Benny Mardones was born Ruben Armand Mardones on November 9, 1946, in Cleveland, Ohio. His father, Ruben Sr., was from Santiago, Chile. Benny only saw his father a few times in his life. His father left Benny and his sister, Louise, when Benny was a baby and eventually returned to Chile. In addition to Louise, Benny had two half-brothers and two half-sisters who live in Chile.
Benny grew up in Savage, Maryland, and graduated from Howard High School in Ellicott City, Maryland, in 1964. He joined the U.S. Navy after high school and served during the Vietnam War. He was briefly married when he was 21 years old, and again in the mid-1980s. After his discharge from the Navy he moved to New York City to pursue his singing and songwriting career. While living in New York, he composed several songs with writing partner Alan Miles. He later wrote songs with fellow singer-songwriter Bobby Tepper, including the song “Into the Night.”
The multi-platinum success of “Into the Night” in 1980 catapulted Benny into the limelight, and he soon spiraled into cocaine addiction and alcoholism. He stopped performing concerts and making public appearances and his label, Polydor Records, dropped him. Over the next few years, he lapsed into obscurity. The birth of his son Michael in April 1985 inspired Benny to get his life in order. The following month, he moved to Syracuse, New York, and by the end of the summer he had kicked his drug and alcohol habit. The renewed popularity of “Into the Night” in 1989 reignited his career, but he wasn’t able to duplicate his earlier success, and he never had another Billboard Top 100 hit.
Benny is the subject of a documentary titled Into the Night: The Benny Mardones Story that was set to be released on DVD in the fall of 2008. However, it has not been released, and no release date is scheduled.
Benny was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2000. Despite his illness, he continued to perform to sold-out audiences in central New York, where he retained a notable fan following. On December 16, 2017 Mardones performed “Into the Night” publicly for the last time at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY.
On October 4, 2011, he married his third wife, Jane Braemer, originally from Denmark. He and Jane resided in Menifee, California.
In July 2018 Benny underwent DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) which minimized the tremors, but complications from the extensive surgeries created numerous other balance, stability, confusion, and pain issues. After surgery, Benny suffered multiple falls including one that dislocated his hip and shattered his pelvic bone. Continued dislocations and several surgeries later, Benny spent a long time fighting various infections. His hip replacement surgery was completed in January 2019, but he dislocated his hip again and had another surgery to fix that.
In December 2018 a GoFundMe campaign was started to help with ongoing medical costs.
Mardones died on June 29, 2020 at his home in Menifee, California, at age 73.