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This song is about a girl who shoots her father because he is sexually abusing her. Steven Tyler wrote the lyrics after reading an article about children who had been killed by guns.
Steven Tyler originally wrote the song in his basement, which was when he came up with the line "Janie's got a gun." He then sat on it for months, "waiting for the oracle door to open." Tyler told Rolling Stone it only became a song about child abuse after, "I looked over at a Time magazine and saw this article on 48 hours, minute by minute, of handgun deaths in the United States." He continued: "Then I got off on the child-abuse angle. I'd heard this woman speaking about how many children are attacked by their mothers and fathers. It was f---ing scary. I felt, man, I gotta sing about this. And that was it. That was my toe in the door."
Tyler wrote the line "He raped a little, bitty baby," but changed it to "He jacked a little, bitty baby" at the request of his record company, who worried that radio stations would not play it if it was too graphic.
Steven Tyler admitted to Rolling Stone that he was attracted to his daughter, Liv. Said Tyler, "How can a father not be attracted to his daughter, especially when she's a cross between the girl he married and himself?" He continued: "All a man has to do is be totally honest with himself and he can see it. However, the real man knows that's just a place to never go. Instead he celebrates it by telling his daughter how beautiful she is and what a precious child of God she is. There's ways to love it without making love to it - I wrote 'Janie's Got A Gun' about fathers who don't know the difference."
The video depicted a girl killing her father. It got lots of play on MTV. The video was directed by David Fincher, who went on to direct Alien III and Panic Room. It starred Kristin Dattilo as Janie, and Lesley Ann Warren as her mother. (thanks, Ekristheh - Halath)
Aerosmith's first two decades produced millions in album sales but zero Grammy Awards. The first time they were honored was in 1991, when this song won the Grammy for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal. The voters in this category quickly acclimated to Aerosmith and gave them the award three more times in the '90s, for "Livin' On The Edge
" and "Pink
The title of this song might be a reference to the 1939 anti-war novel Johnny Got His Gun
, which the Metallica song "One
" is about. (thanks, Daniel - Køge, Denmark)
"Janie's Got A Gun" is in 4/4 time; the sheet music is credited to Steven Tyler and Tom Hamilton, ie Steven Talarico and Thomas Eugene Hamilton, and is copyright 1989 by EMI April Music and Swag Song Music.
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