Pat Benatar’s 1984 smash hit “We Belong” was written by two estranged musical partners

By on February 6, 2019

Pat Benatar burst on to the rock music scene in 1979,” says Pat Prescott in her introduction to Benatar’s “We Belong” video in Night Flight’s “Take Off to Women in Rock II,” which originally aired in 1985.

“Since then,” Ms. Prescott continues, “she’s won four consecutive Grammy awards for Best Female Vocalist, and generated five platinum albums. For her recent album, Tropico, Pat Benatar has expanded her aggressive rock sounds to include more mellow tunes…”

Watch this vintage episode featuring videos by an eclectic selection of female trailblazers and provocateurs on Night Flight Plus.

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In an interview Benatar did for Billboard (“Benatar Seeks ‘Mature’ Sound”), published on October 27, 1984, the award-winning rocker (b. Patricia Mae Andrzejewski on January 10, 1953, in Brooklyn, NY) said:

“I just wanted to not do such hard rock ‘n’ roll things or real poppy things. I wanted to start doing songs that have a little more emotional impact. As you get older — I’m not saying we’re rocking in our chairs — but I wanted to get a little bit more of a mature attitude into it. I wanted to make sure that as time went by I would feel comfortable singing these songs.”

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“We Belong” was written by L.A.-based folk-rockin’ songwriting duo Eric Lowen and Dan Navarro, who have penned songs for the Bangles, Dave Edmunds and David Lee Roth, as well as composing jingles for commercials and TV shows.

At the time they wrote this song, however, they were estranged from each other.

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In 2014, Navarro told The Tennessean that he and Lowen hadn’t spoken with each other in six weeks after nearly three years of daily communication.

On the evening of September 22, 1983, they decided to put aside their differences, however, and write a song together, to get back on track.

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They wrote the song in about ninety minutes in Lowen’s apartment, hurrying to finish because they weren’t able to make any noise after 10pm due to his complaining neighbors.

It’s easy to read into the song’s lyrics how they’d come to an understanding about their partnership, and decided to bury the hatchet:

We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder
We belong to the sound of the words we’ve both fallen under
Whatever we deny or embrace for worse or for better
We belong, we belong, we belong together

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Navarro: “‘It doesn’t matter if you agree, or disagree, if you’re here or gone. There are things that are bigger than both of us, and we belong together.” I started with that final line and built everything almost backwards.”

“We Belong,” Navarro says, changed their lives for the better, and nearly a year later, Benatar’s version was a Top Five hit worldwide.

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“We Belong” was the first single from her sixth studio album, Tropico, released on October 16, 194, by her longtime label Chrysalis Records.

It went on to peak at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart (duplicating the same chart position of Benatar’s hit “Love Is a Battlefield”).

It also charted at #3 on Billboard‘s Top Rock Tracks and #34 on the Adult Contemporary chart, earning her a Grammy nomination that year for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.

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Today, Dan Navarro still performs regularly.

Sadly, his longtime musical partner Eric Lowen died of complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease — on March 23, 2012.

He was just sixty years old.

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Eric Lowen and Dan Navarro (photo by the great Henry Diltz)

Read more about Pat Benatar below.

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Benatar’s video — which features the single mix version of the song, including a four-bar intro not heard on the album version — showed the singer wearing a big-shouldered white jacket and wearing electric green gloves.

She’s surrounded by members of her band partially-hidden by white fabric strips blowing in the wind (which to our eyes look like she’s standing beneath a toilet papered-tree).

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There’s also a children’s choir holding lit candles, and a possibly green screen-enhanced scene showing Benatar standing near a cave by a glittery waterfall.

Very nice lighting special effects are also seen throughout the video, which creates an almost otherworldly fantasy realm setting.

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The video was co-directed by George Shapiro and Marty Callner, who during his long career as one of the top music video directors of the 1980s would also direct videos for Benatar’s “Invincible” and “Ooh Ooh Song,” as well as videos for Aerosmith, Cher, Twisted Sister, the Scorpions, Heart, Bon Jovi and many, many others.

At the time of shooting, Benatar had discovered she was pregnant (she gave birth to her first child, Haley Giraldo, on February 16, 1985).

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Benatar, in fact, is quoted about this in Rob Tannenbaum’s and Craig Marks’ I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution, saying:

“I was throwing up constantly between takes because I was pregnant. [Callner] was very generous and sweet, even though he was crazy. He wore big jewelry — big enough that I could lift it for weights — and he had big hair and a beautiful Israeli wife who ordered him around all the time.”

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Watch Night Flight’s “Take Off to Women in Rock II” — which also features music videos by Tina Turner (“Better Be Good to Me”), the Pointer Sisters (“Neutron Dance”), Patty Smyth‘s Scandal (“Hands Tied”), Madonna (“Like a Virgin”), Cyndi Lauper (“She Bop”), Sheena Easton (“Strut”), Donna Summer (“Supernatural Love”), Sheila E. (“Glamorous Life”), Laura Branigan (“Self Control”) and the PlasmaticsWendy O. Williams (“It’s My Life”) — on Night Flight Plus.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.