This was written by Alex Call, a songwriter and musician who was lead singer in the group Clover (Huey Lewis was also in the group). In a Songfacts interview, he said: "I wrote that around the same time I wrote '(867-5309).' I was really angry at a guy who had been playing lead guitar with me who had split to go play with somebody else, so that's what the song is about. It wasn't actually a boy-girl thing, it was more like a bandleader-lead guitarist thing - 'You want to come back and play with me, I don't think so, Bud.'"
Alex Call told us: "From a production standpoint, it was kind of funny. There used to be these vinyl LPs called Drum Drops. Drum Drops were just drum tracks recorded by some drummer in a studio. They're like 3 1/2-minute-long things. There'd be a fill every eight bars and a little something every four bars. I was going through and went, 'Oh, I kind of like this,' and started playing around.
We had the very first drum machines, which were these little cocktail things, they looked like a little suitcase. They had 'Rock 1,' 'Rock 2,' 'Conga,' 'Jazz' and 'Waltz.' One output, a mono output. I used that a lot, I ran it through a little spring reverb, but we're talking about the early days of multitrack home recording. I had a big 15-inch reel 4-track as my recording thing. The way you multitrack on that, you have to flip these sync switches, so when you actually overdub, you're hearing it off the first head, so it was really murky-sounding, like you're playing underwater. When you get done recording, you flip the sync switches back and all of the sudden it sounds great, it sounds clear again. What you do then is, you record three tracks of stuff and pong it down to one. Then you record two tracks, and pong it down to another two, so by continuing to pong tracks around, you could record 16 or 24 tracks of stuff, but with each generation, the sound got smaller and smaller. That's how it was done back then, the spring reverbs, the old cocktail drum machines. The drum drops were much better than the drum machines. I only used them on that one song, for everything else, I used 'Rock 1' on my old drum machine."
Like "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," this became one of Benatar's most recognizable songs, and is often considered a female-empowerment anthem. Both songs, however, were written by men under interesting circumstances. Says Call, "Somebody said, it's not necessarily the truth, it's somebody's truth. For a song to connect, it has to have some reality to it, but it may be the reality's slightly skewed from what people think." (Check out our interview with Alex Call.)
Benatar said of this song: "That was Alex Call. I just liked the song. Some outside songs we rip to pieces. That song is not far from what he originally wrote."