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."