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Barracuda

by

Heart



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This was written by Ann and Nancy Wilson together with guitarist Roger Fisher and drummer Michael DeRosier. According to the band, the song is a statement about the record industry in general. It was written at a time when there was friction between the band and their label. Little Queen was the first album Heart released for the CBS-Portrait label. Their old label, Mushroom Records, sued the band and in 1978 released Magazine, an album made up of previously recorded material that Heart did not want released. (Thanks to Sovereign Records for this information.)
The Wilson sisters revealed in various interviews that the song was about Heart's anger towards an ad Mushroom Records placed in trade publications implying that the Ann and Nancy were lesbians having an affair (see the full ad and read more about it). The song focuses on Ann's rage towards a promoter who came up to her after a concert in Detroit asking how her "lover" was. She initially thought he was talking about her then boyfriend - band member Michael Fisher. After he revealed he was talking about her sister Nancy Wilson, Ann became angry and went back to her hotel room to write the song. Nancy put suitably angry music to the words to complete the song comparing the sleazy side of music to a dangerous fish.
This song can be heard in the movie Charlie's Angles. (thanks, Brandon - Peoria, IL)
Fergie performed this with Heart at the 2008 Idol Gives Back charity special on American Idol. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
During the 2008 presidential campaign, this song was used as the as the unofficial theme song for Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin. The Alaska governor originally earned the nickname "Sarah Barracuda" when she played basketball in high school, because of her fierce competitiveness. The name was revived after Palin became mayor of her hometown, Wasilla, in 1996 and it was played at the 2008 National Republican Convention, after she gave a speech. The next day, Ann and Nancy Wilson issued a statement that said: "The Republican campaign did not ask for permission to use the song, nor would they have been granted that permission. We have asked the Republican campaign publicly not to use our music. We hope our wishes will be honored."

Their wishes were not honored, and the song was played at the convention that night after their presidential nominee John McCain spoke and Palin joined him on stage. As the Republican campaign pointed out, they had obtained the proper performance rights to the song and were under no obligation to get further permission to use it (they would have if they wanted to use it in a commercial or video).

With no legal recourse, the Wilson sisters retaliated in the media, telling Entertainment Weekly: "Sarah Palin's views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women. We ask that our song 'Barracuda' no longer be used to promote her image. The song 'Barracuda' was written in the late 70s as a scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women. While Heart did not and would not authorize the use of their song at the RNC, there's irony in Republican strategists' choice to make use of it there."

The song's co-writer Roger Fisher was also anti-Palin, but he saw things differently, telling Reuters he was "thrilled" that the song was being used as it was a win-win situation. He explained that while Heart gets publicity and royalties, the Republicans benefit from "the ingenious placement of a kick-ass song." He added that he would use some of the proceeds in a donation to the Obama campaign, and thus, "the Republicans are now supporting Obama."
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Comments (34):

I'm reluctant to state this as fact. But I have read somewhere that the original title of Barracuda (now remember how this song was born of Ann's anger at the sleezy record dude) was MotherF...er. Again, don't know if it's really true. But it's a cute thought. And it's entirely logical, given (a) their anger, (b) their more innocent family roots (read Kicking and Dreaming), and (c) MF would never make a truly marketable song title... especially in the late 70s. So every time I see them perform the song, I wonder if they somehow chuckle -- though certainly, by now they must perform it out of 'muscle memory.' Cheers.
- Jim, Bloomington, IL
Barracuda is a Marvel Comics character, an enemy of the Punisher. "He is a mercenary gangster of great physical strength, endurance, fighting ability, and exceptional intelligence. He shows an incredible sense of optimism and "glass half full" thinking (even maintaining a cheerful attitude as the Punisher cut off all the fingers on his right hand), profane humor, and a tendency to betray anyone if he can benefit from it. (Wikipedia) Who know the same Barracudas of whom Michael Jackson talked about before he died. (http://youtu.be/o5OvUoUuKDo).
- Manoel, São Gonçalo, Brazil
This particular hit reached #11 on the billboard hot 100. While in Canada it went to the top 5. This could have been because many people believed that Heart were Canadian'
while they were actually from Seattle. I heard that either a band member or manager or somebody was a draft dodger. I have often wondered why many Heart songs were bigger hits in Canada until I
heard that. Notice how big they were in the later 80's. To my ears none of their later hits matched Barracuda. Wendell Milton PEI.
- wendell, milton, PE
@Don from KY
Yes, for a time Ann and Nancy addressed each other or referred to each other as "porpoise."
- Patricia, Pueblo, CO
why isnt there GREATEST song included here?....The dog And Butterfly...
- Rick, Belfast, ME
Who is the "porpoise" mentioned twice in the lyrics? Is it Ann's sister Nancy? Anyone know?
- Don, B G, KY
Just goes to show that extreme anger can be chanelled into a kick-ass song!!!!!
- rod, Gainesville, FL
This is a transcendant, tight rock n roll song. The incessant driving riff, Ann's soaring vocals, the piercing guitar solos. Rock n roll perfection! Great band, Great song!
- Guy, Woodinville, WA
This is the BEST led zeppelin song! (haha, get it?)
- Nick, Seattle, Albania
In 2006, Ann Wilson made atribute cover album of Led Zepellin songs. she pretty much nailed them all especially Immigrant Song.
- alma, laredo, TX
Err, Scott in Perth Western Australia, I think you would find that it was released in Australia in 1977 the same time it was released to the rest of the world. Along with Magic Man and various other songs of theirs from the 70's and 80's. Check out their other songs, you'll be pleasantly surprised..
- Saff, Melbourne, Australia
lol, if anyone thinks this song was made by guiater hero you are retarted! Because some of my friends think so and its impossible and if you look at the top where the song is it says Atrist:Heart! I'm sure that gives it away!

Note:I really hope it does if not thats sad...
- Billy, baton rouge, LA
Hmmmm... who took the million dollars to go with Columbia? Let's sign a contract that says if either of you leaves the label, we get out. We're not in this for the money.
- mickey, Kamloops, BC
It is so catchy Uhhh Barracuda!! I heart this song!@ lol
- Austin, Seminole, FL
It's only natural that Heart would emulate Led Zeppelin's sound; they idolized the band, for goodness sakes! They have always admitted that publically. I don't mind Heart using Zep songs as inspiration to their songs. The gals rock!!! Their hits are some of the most memorable rock songs out there.
- Mayra, Whittier, CA
Lol, my friend told me it said:
'And if he dn't do the trick, then you better suck his dick'
- Joey, Rabbidtown, IN
I heard from a DJ on a radio station that Heart used to play Led Zeppelin songs before they hit it big and that could be why the riff sounds like it's from Achilles Last Stand to some of you. They might have been used to playing it and kind of accidentally copied it without thinking (or purposely).
- Evil Joe, Suffragette City, CO
If you think that song makes you want to hit the open road in a car, don't forget there was a muscle car at that time made by Plymouth called the "Barracuda", or 'Cuda.
In 1976, I met this 'Dukes of Hazard' type dude in my hometown, who worked at a small gas station and always said hi to me, and who had a purple sparkly painted 'Cuda, and so his nick name to all of us was 'Barracuda, because his real name was Barry, and it kind of fit.
Somehow, I went on a double date with him, me sitting with my girlfriend in the back seat of his 'Cuda, him and another girl (her friend) in the front. Big car, but a cramped back seat. The band Heart was already big then with Dreamboat Annie, but hadn't yet released "Little Queen", it was late '76, still the year before, but the stuff was probably being recorded as we cruised, actually. Seems only a dream now, and I wonder how I ever got away with it, because I was only about 15 at the time, and barely allowed out of my house. He was already out of school, or in college, but not averse to a fling with a 15 year old girl, (my girlfriends friend).
Afterwards, I always attributed that Barracuda song to him, as if Nancy and Ann had written it especially with him in mind, or guys like him, , They very well might have,really, because every town seems to have dudes like him with good wheels, and little else to show. Still the 'Cuda was a nice car, and '76 was still the muscle car era.
- John, Angola, IN
this is lk exactly lk achilles last stand..same type of galloping bass line...lots of effects on guitar tht sound similar..and drumming is like the same..rip off..Led Zeppelin-Gods of Rock
- Ryan, Cincinnati, OH
sorry chow,from saint louis,but i read it that ann wilson did get the idea from,Achilles,i think i read it from creem mag ,some years ago.
- christopher, kingston, Canada
If you like songs with a heavy (and or) fast opening guitar riff you should check out The Power of I and I or Eternity Is Within by Shadows Fall. Or just pick up just about any of thier cds. You could also check out Lamb Of God. Also Phantom of the Opera by Iron Maiden is another good one. As a guitar player myself I've found these songs very compelling and hard to learn because they are so technical. Personally I'm a pretty big fan of Heart
and like most of thier music. True Mike & Roger set the "rock & roll" foundation for Heart, Heart is still one of the most recognized and known rock bands in the world. Sorry to hear that this wasn't released as a single in Australia but, you can easily resolve the situation by picking up the Little Queen cd. My personal favorite Heart album is Dreamboat Annie. Roger & Howard Leese (Heart's current guitar player but at that time was playing for Spirit also) with Nancy Wilson played the guitar parts. all of that aside, this is an awesome song and was written by Ann Wilson about thier current manager who started a rumor about Ann and Nancy being lesbian lovers for publicity. Which was not true by the way. He based it on the cover of Dreamboat Annie which shows them standing back to back appearing to be topless. even if they where "gay lovers" they still made great music and are still 2 of the biggest rock icons in the world. Who still influence musicans all over the world today. Including myself. Would be cool to see what would come out if Roger Fisher came back for an album or even a song. -Rob Cook
- Kara, Cadillac, MI
This song is an absolute classic- the music, the lyrics, and the beautiful yet powerful voice of Ann Wilson- everything about it is rock and roll at it's very best. Heat has, for many, many years, been a favorite band of mine and they still are. Couple of comments though: with all due respect Tom, Mike and Roger made incredible music with Heart, and helped Heart to achieve a solid footing in the rock world, but they weren't the ones that gained and/or maintained the level of super-stardom that they have had for all of these years. Ann and Nancy, with Howard Leese, too, did that on their own. Sure, I'd like to see (hear) them together again, because I think they could do something extraordinary having experience and maturity on their side- nevertheless, Heart will continue to be rock icons with or without them. Incidentally, Ann was quoted in a rock music publication as saying that the song was about their at the time manager who had "leaked a rumor" that Ann and Nancy were lesbian lovers, using the cover of Dreamboat Annie as "evidence" of that relationship. She said it had been done behind their backs for publicity's sake and Ann was so furious that she wrote Barracuda as a way of venting her anger at him. Sounds like it may have been a little personal. Perhaps it depends on who ya ask. Since she wrote the song, or at least the lyrics, I'll stick with her view. Heart has had their ups and downs, like everyone does, but they've been giving us awesome music for more than 30 years- whoever their influences were, no doubt the've inspired others as well, and continue to do so.
- Kara, Cadillac, MI
i read somewhere that ann wilson said they got the idea for this song from achillies last stand
- christopher, kingston, Canada
Best opening guitar riff of all time. This is a song that makes you wish for a Ferrari, 200 miles of open road and no cops. :)
- Jameson, Lexington, KY
Actually heart attributes the influance of barracuda to a nazereth tune Razzmataz (sp?). not anything LZ has done.
Best Regards, CHOW
- CHOW, Saint Louis, MO
Really rocking song, though why not as popular i wonder.
- vivek, delhi, India
This is a fantastic song with something very original to offer. I first heard the song when I played Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. I'm in Australia and I don't believe the song was ever released here as a single. Heart had a top five hit here in the 90's with "All i wanna do is make love with you". I honestly believe they should rerelease Barracuda as a single here in Australia. I think they would be quite surprised, it would certainly make the top five, if not definitly the top ten. I would love to see Heart collaberate with Linda Perry (4 Non-Blondes) on an album, now there would be some awesome music made there.
- Scott, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Make sure you have a five speed for this one and plenty of open road, oh and most important, make sure your car is fast!
- Jeremy, Warren , RI
This song was also used for VH1's "I love '76" Or was "I love '77"?
- Ferris, Ohio, OH
Anybody who likes Heart should really comment on their other songs. Magic Man and Alone only have 2 comments each!
- Ross, Independence, MO
Barracuda's lyrics were a group effort, check the credits. Last time I talked to Mike DeRosier, he told me the song "Barracuda" was about the music industry, and it is not personal. Mike and John Bonham do have very simular styles, thus the "Achilles Last Stand" flavor. I listened to Heart's last CD, Mike and Roger are needed badly.
- Tom, Wenatchee, WA
I noticed that too Marlon. I also think that the drumbeats from "Achilles Last Stand" were used in the song. That's just my personal oppinion though. After all they have the same beat, and they're in the same key too.
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
The riff is from Led Zeppelin's "Achilles Last Stand"...still a great song.
- Marlon, NYC, NY
Barracuda's lyrics were written by Ann Wilson of Heart out of rage and and disgust of an incident that happened backstage at a show in Detroit early in Heart's career. Basically a dirt-bag reporter who thought he was the king of kings asked Ann how her 'lover' was doing. She replied that Micheal, (Fisher), was fine. The man then said, no I mean your lover, you know, your sister" - this man assumed that because of the album cover of Dreamboat Annie, showing sisters Ann and Nancy back-to back, and is led to make you think they are topless - this man assumed they were lesbian lovers as well. In retaliation - Ann wrote the lyrics to Barracuda that night in their hotel room. It has been one of their best known works of music.
- Shanny, Detroit, MI
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