For My Sunday Song #108, I am going to discuss the song “Hell is for Children” by powerhouse singer Pat Benatar. The song was recorded in 1980 and released on her album ‘Crimes of Passion’ which went to #2 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. The song itself was never released as an official single, but became a hit nonetheless.
The song was inspired by an article that Pat had read in the New York Times that told the story of child abuse. She was so moved by the article that she started writing this song. In a time when no one was speaking publicly about child abuse, it was really groundbreaking for an artist to tackle such an intense subject.
The lyrics capture the sadness and despair the children of abuse face each day. Just read the opening verse:
“They cry in the dark, so you can’t see their tears
They hide in the light, so you can’t see their fears
Forgive and forget, all the while
Love and pain become one and the same
In the eyes of a wounded child”
The lyrics go on to talk about the abuser telling the kids not tell mommy and to lie to everyone about what happened while they apologize for what they had done yet continue to abuse. It doesn’t get more raw than this song, so powerful.