Neil Thomas Giraldo (born December 29, 1955) is an American musician, record producer, arranger, and songwriter. He has performed, written and produced for many artists including: Rick Derringer, Pat Benatar, John Waite, Rick Springfield, Kenny Loggins, Steve Forbert, The Del-Lords, Scott Kempner, and Beth Hart. Giraldo's diverse work has sold over 45 million records and his contributions have produced five Grammy Awards and an additional four Grammy nominations.
Giraldo in 2018
|Also known as|
|Born||December 29, 1955|
|Origin||Cleveland, Ohio, US|
Giraldo was born on December 29, 1955 in Cleveland, Ohio, United States, to Sicilian parents, Anthony and Angela Giraldo. At the age of six, Giraldo received his first guitar as a gift from his parents. Giraldo notes his first live performances as playing Italian songs after church for family and friends, alongside his sister Priscilla, who played the accordion. He would later start playing in local bands at the age of 14, venturing into nightclubs with his uncle, who would sing while Giraldo played the guitar. He learned to play the piano at age 12, and afterwards the drums. Throughout his childhood, Giraldo credits being influenced by revolutionary bands of the 1960s and 1970s such as The Yardbirds, The Kinks, and The Who. Jazz artists such as bandleader Count Basie, jazz pianist Jay McShann, and blues shouter Big Joe Turner provided inspiration and deepened Giraldo's respect and admiration for the genre.
Giraldo began his professional music career in 1978 as a member of the Rick Derringer band after competing alongside 200 fellow guitarists for the position. Giraldo provided his guitar, as well as piano skills for Derringer's 1979 recording of Guitars and Women. In the spring of 1979, Mike Chapman introduced Giraldo to a singer named Pat Benatar who had recently signed a recording contract with Chrysalis Records. Chapman felt Giraldo's affinity for arranging and musical direction would facilitate the creation of a sound both identifiable and powerful. Over the years Giraldo has produced some of Benatar's biggest hits including "Love Is a Battlefield" and "We Belong". Giraldo has performed on every Benatar album and produced all but two.
Benatar's debut album In the Heat of the Night was released in August 1979 and reached No. 12 in the US in early 1980. The album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in December 1980. The album featured the Giraldo penned hit "We Live for Love".
The release of Crimes of Passion, in August 1980, featured the single "Hit Me with Your Best Shot," which reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold over a million copies in the United States, achieving a gold certification by the RIAA. Also on the album was the controversial song "Hell Is for Children," co-written by Giraldo, which was inspired by a New York Times article about child abuse in America The album peaked for five consecutive weeks at No. 2 in the US and was featured in the 1981 adult animated musical drama film American Pop.
Precious Time marked the first of many Benatar albums produced by Giraldo, and was released in July 1981, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard US Top 200 LP chart, followed in late 1982 by Get Nervous, which reached No. 4 in the US and earned RIAA and CRIA platinum certifications. Live from Earth, recorded during the band's Get Nervous world tour, reached No. 13 and received RIAA and CRIA platinum certification.
On August 1, 1981, the MTV network launched and debuted the music video "You Better Run," distinguishing Giraldo as the first guitarist to appear on MTV.
Giraldo was also the producer for the John Waite album Ignition, released on May 21, 1982. The album featured the single "Change", which also appeared on the soundtrack for the 1985 film, Vision Quest.
Tropico was released in August 1984, featuring a new sound, less hard rock. It, too, earned RIAA and CRIA platinum certification. A year later, Seven the Hard Way, was released, earning an RIAA gold certification. Giraldo and Benatar's success continued with Wide Awake in Dreamland in the summer of 1988, again earning RIAA gold certification.
In September 2019, Giraldo received the AFMX 2019 Music Award, as part of the Albuquerque Film and Music Experience Festival. 
On October 15, 2019 Neil Giraldo was nominated for the 2020 induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His nomination came for his co-creating the Pat Benatar band, where Giraldo was lead guitarist, songwriter and record producer for 40 years. 
In 2017, Giraldo founded and is the chairman of Steel Bending Spirits LLC. Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the spirits company released its inaugural offering, Three Chord Bourbon in July 2018. In July 2019, Steel Bending Spirits expanded its Three Chord Bourbon product line, introducing two new variations, Twelve Bar Reserve and Amplify Rye.
Giraldo is and has been a long time advocate for the support of children and their well-being. Since 1996 Giraldo and Benatar have been performing at fundraising events and lending assistance to the non-profit organization, The Children's Lifesaving Foundation. The Children's Lifesaving Organization supports the lives of homeless and high-risk youth in Los Angeles by providing social, academic and domestic support. In 2016 Giraldo and Benatar were awarded the foundation's Angel of the Year Award for their continued service.
On April 12, 2016 Giraldo and Benatar were honored with the Artistic Award of Courage, celebrating both artists for their advocacy toward the ending of child abuse. The award was presented in conjunction with the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Board of Advisors, via The Stewart and Lydia Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA.
In 2016 Giraldo became involved with the Oakland School for the Arts, a charter school located in Oakland California. In April 2016, the school unveiled the Neil Giraldo Recording Studio as a welcome gift to the music department
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|Guitars and Women (piano, guitar) – (Rick Derringer)||–||–||—||—|
|In the Heat of the Night (Songwriter, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals)||12||98||3|
|Crimes of Passion (Songwriter, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals)||
|Precious Time (Producer, songwriter, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals)||
|Ignition (Producer) – John Waite||68||–||—||—|
|Get Nervous (Producer, songwriter, Guitar, Keyboards, Harmonica)||
|Live from Earth (Producer, songwriter, Guitar, Keyboards)||
|Tropico (Producer, songwriter, Guitar, Keyboards)||
|Seven the Hard Way (Producer, Guitar, songwriter, Keyboards)||
|Johnny Comes Marching Home (Producer and Mixer) – The Del-Lords||
|Based on a True Story (Producer and Mixer) – The Del-Lords||
|Wide Awake in Dreamland (Songwriter, Guitar, Keyboards, Producer)||
|True Love (Guitar, songwriter, Producer)||
|Gravity's Rainbow (Songwriter, Guitar, Keyboards, Producer)||
|Innamorata (Songwriter, producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals)||
|Go (Producer, Guitar, songwriter, Vocal, Keyboards)||
Singles and collaborationsEdit
|1981||Working Class Dog, "Jessie's Girl", "I've Done Everything for You"||Producer, Guitar, Bass||Rick Springfield|
|1983||Down in Flames||Producer||Steve Forbert|
|1985||Vision Quest (soundtrack)||Producer||Multiple|
|1997||Don't Fight It||Arranger, Guitar||Kenny Loggins|
|2001||California Dreamin'||Producer||Beth Hart|
|2015||One December Night||Keyboards, songwriter, Guitar, producer||Pat Benatar|
|2017||Shine||Producer, Guitar, Drums, Keyboards||Pat Benatar|
|2018||Dancing Through the Wreckage||Songwriter||Pat Benatar|
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- "Smile". IMDb.com. Retrieved June 26, 2019.}
- "AFMX". abqfilmx.com. Retrieved October 6, 2019.}
- "Sunny". sunny1015.com. Retrieved October 16, 2019.}
- Gary Graff. "Rocker Neil Giraldo brings new bourbon to Michigan State Fair". The Oakland Press. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
- "Steel Bending Spirits' Three Chord Blended Bourbon - Product Launch". Just-drinks.com. August 1, 2018. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
- Steven Wilke. "Neil Giraldo's Three Chord Bourbon Is Inspired by Rock N' Roll Sounds". Hour Detroit. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
- "Pat Benatar And Neil Giraldo: Star-Crossed Lovers, Partners For More Than 30 Years". Yahoo.com. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
- Gamboa, Glenn (June 27, 2010). "Pat Benatar takes her best shot in new book". New Haven Register. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
- Nancy Sagona. "Angels at Work". Malibu Times. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
- [dead link]
- "An Afternoon of Good Food and Friends at Vibiana Raises Money for Scholarships - U Magazine - UCLA Health - Los Angeles, CA". Uclahealth.org. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
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- "Pat Benatar's husband/musical partner Neil Giraldo talks '80s hits and musical theater". Tampa Bay Times. October 10, 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
- "Pat Benatar And Neil Giraldo - One December Night". Discogs. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
- "Shine - Pat Benatar". YouTube. January 19, 2017. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
- "Pat Benatar - Dancing Through The Wreckage". Discogs. Retrieved June 26, 2019.