Shooting Shark

Album: The Revölution by Night (1983)
Charted: 83

Songfacts®:

  • This is a love song, as only Blue Öyster Cult could write. The cryptic lyrics are about a man who has tried three times to break off a relationship, only to come back to his lover each time. The song ends with the man vowing that "the fourth time around is the last time around," leaving the listener to draw his or her own conclusion as to whether it will turn out any differently.
  • This was the last of five Blue Öyster Cult songs with a lyric from Patti Smith (the band's guitarist, Buck Dharma, wrote the music and sang lead). Smith had not yet released her first solo album when she started contributing lyrics to the band, which welcomed various associates - often music journalists - to offer them up. Smith and BÖC keyboard player Allen Lanier dated for a while, but by the early '80s, they had broken up and she had married Fred "Sonic" Smith and had her first child. The "Shooting Shark" lyric is one of her few musical endeavors in the '80s.

    "I think it could have been autobiographical, but I can't speak to it," Buck Dharma told Songfacts. "I found that lyric probably four or five years after it had been submitted to us. Patti used to write and we would sometimes just take her poetry books, take writing out of there and set it to music."
  • The bass player on this song was session musician Randy Jackson, who went on to become a prominent A&R man and, most famously, a judge on American Idol.
  • Fittingly enough, this song coincided with the band's "jumping the shark" - the start of their gradual decline. This single and the album it came from, The Revolution By Night, were only modestly successful commercially. Several lineup changes followed, including a brief reunion of the band's original roster, but Blue Oyster Cult could never recapture the commercial success they enjoyed during the 1970s.
  • The Revölution by Night album was produced by Bruce Fairbairn, who went on to produce several Aerosmith albums.
  • The album title, like the name of the band itself, is properly rendered with an umlaut over the first letter "o". Blue Oyster Cult was one of the first bands to use the so-called "heavy-metal umlaut," a gimmick famously parodied by the fictional band Spinal Tap, who put the umlaut over a consonant. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Joshua - La Crosse, WI
  • The band made a video for this song that was directed by Francis Delia. In the clip, Buck Dharma visits a shaman and becomes delusional, with lots of strange hallucinations. At one point, he grabs a woman who turns out to be a goat.

Comments: 8

  • Eric from Concord, CaThe San Jose Sharks organist used to play this song 30+ before the game started, before the teams came out for the pre-game warm ups.
  • Brian from Fremont, CaBased on a poem by Patti Smith.
  • Chris from San Antonio, TxI actually heard this song on 104.5 in San Antonio a few weeks go on a "heavy metal hour" show and it re-kindled my interest in the BOC of this era.
    I couldn't believe they were playing it!!!

    Kick out the jams.
  • Luke from Dayton, OhBOC is a really under rated band,yet there so freakin awesome
  • 5cats from Winnipeg, MbThe Shooting Shark is some sort of omen (probably a bad one). This was a grat record, every track is solid, it should have spawned 3-4 hits, they all have killer lyrics (BOC's trademark, eh?) but somehow it remained obscure. Shadow Of California has a catchy line: 'Night makes right...' it doesn't get much better than that.
  • Kent from Pittsfield, IlCan anyone explain what a "shooting shark" is and how it can light up the school?
  • Don from San Antonio, TxYeah - this one was a great song. I thought it was worthy of a better push by the powers that be. The sun seemed to be setting on BOC and this song was a casualty of that and fell through the cracks. But on the bright side, it got just enough airplay for the few of us that liked it to hear it and persure getting a copy...if it wasn't for that lil' push, we wouldn't have heard it at all. That was Randy Jackson?! The slap-pop bass SHREDS on that song, "Dog"!
  • Allen from Bicknell, Ini remember this song back in 1983-84.back when there were more live(not satellite)stations.i don't understand why "classic rock" stations don't play more b.o.c. classic rock radio has become a "drive-by" format,predictable and boring.you won't hear this one anymore-too bad.
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