10,000 Maniacs lead singer Natalie Merchant wrote this song, which is about her little brother who had joined the United States Army. She told The Guardian: "Women aren't usually the ones who go out and kill. Traditionally, women are the ones who've given life rather than taken it. That's changing because a lot of men are adopting more pacifist attitudes. I felt so betrayed when my brother joined up because he's my baby brother and I felt he was ignoring all my teaching. I sent him the album including 'Gun Shy' on cassette and told him to listen to every song without exception. He came to see us in Germany a couple of weeks ago and he told me the army was no life for him. But it's not just him. my stepbrother and sister are also employed by the US Government to murder people. It's a problem at holidays, we have some tense family meals."
Stephens Stills played timbales on the Bee Gees hit, "You Should Be Dancing." He was in the next door studio laying down a Crosby, Stills and Nash album and could hear Saturday Night Fever being recorded. Stills recognized its potential to be a monster hit and he wanted to contribute.