On the TV series Sounds of the Time, Nugent explained: "The song is not only sensual and sexual, but lyrically it is a song of defiance. Every record label passed on Ted Nugent.
Here I come again now baby
Like a dog in heat
Tell it's me by the clamor now baby
I like to tap the streets
I've been smoking for so long
You know I'm here to stay
Got you in a stranglehold baby
You best get out of the way
That's to the industry. This is the music people love: I'm playing 300 concerts a year and people are foaming at the mouth. The energy at my concerts was unprecedented and remains unprecedented, so some dirtbag at a desk in New York City is going to say that my music isn't relative? Come on the road with me a couple hundred nights and see the relative. Watch the girls dance - that's relative, you dirtbag. So it was a song of defiance."
Nugent didn't sing lead on this; Derek St. Holmes, who was the vocalist with his band, did. Nugent resented the attention Holmes received on stage and eventually sang all the hits himself. His explanation: "There's only one alpha wolf, and that's me."
Right up there with "Thunderstruck
" as one of the most swaggering, guitar-driven rockers with manly appeal, the lyrics are rather violent, with the singer letting some poor girl know that he has the upper hand now, and is willing to burn her house down if he has to. Nugent claims the misogynist, violent lyrics were part of his act and should not be taken literally. This did not make women's groups feel any better.
According to Nugent, he's heard from many Americans in the military who have a connection to this song. "When they go to battle and they know there's going to be fire and danger, they play 'Stranglehold,'" he said. "Is there a more powerful connection to the most important people in the world who will go into a firefight for our freedom listening to my song?"
Nugent hold the military in high esteem, but he wanted no part of it when he got drafted to fight in the Vietnam War. He showed up to the physical determined to fail, and he did, earning an exemption.
Cross Canadian Ragweed did a cover of this song on their album Soul Gravy
after the last song as a secret song. They also use it to do band intros at their concerts.
Cole - San Angelo, TX
The song can be heard in a television commercial for the Volkswagen Jetta, which follows the history of a young guy's vehicle purchases from his first 10-speed bike to a questionably legal speedster. Years later, now a doting dad he chooses the Jetta after learning it is a 2012 IIHS Top Safety Pick.
This classic rocker features in a number of movies including Bad News Bears, Dazed and Confused, Invincible, Rock Star and Superbad.