Writers: Pat Benatar, Neil Giraldo, and Roger Capps
Producer: Keith Olsen
Recorded: Winter 1980 at Sound City in Los Angeles, California
Released: August 23, 1980
Scott St. Clair Sheets–guitar
|Album:||Crimes Of Passion (Chrysalis, 1980)|
Though one of the best-known and most enduring songs in Pat Benatar‘s catalog, “Hell Is For Children” was never released as a single.
The song courted attention because of its subject matter, child abuse, which was rare for rock songwriters to tackle at that point in time.
The song was inspired by a New York Times article about the growth in child abuse throughout the country. “I remember the overwhelming sadness and anger I felt that day,” Benatar recalled. “Our bass player, Roger Capps, was also really moved by the article, and we immediately started writing lyrics. We showed them to Neil (Giraldo), and he thought they were very powerful and he began working on the chord changes and the rhythm of the song. He tried to capture the anguish and pain of a small child being hurt by someone they loved and trusted. I think he did it beautifully.”
Giraldo said that “Hell Is For Children” gave the Crimes Of Passion album–Benatar’s second–“the depth it needed. I knew we had written a great song when we finished writing it. I remember I couldn’t wait to get into the studio to record it. Also a powerful performance and emotionally stinging lyric by Pat. We didn’t have much time to make records then due to an extremely active touring schedule, but this track has the bite and the evidence of a band that was maturing and finding itself.”
Benatar said “Hell Is For Children” drew a strong reaction from fans and inspired she and Giraldo to set up a children’s protection foundation that is funded by the song’s publishing royalties. She still calls the song “my proudest achievement. It was created with a pure heart out of love and compassion for life’s dearest beings, children…I play it every performance as a gesture of faith and solidarity.”
Crimes Of Passion was a huge success for Benatar, peaking at Number Two on the Billboard 200 and elevating her to headlining status.
Crimes Of Passion is still Benatar’s best selling album at more than four million copies sold.