Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold" is a song of defiance. He wrote it in response to the naysayers at record labels who turned him down.
In a Songfacts interview with Nugent
, he described it as "middle fingers on fire, telling the music industry that my music is way better than you can even imagine."
"It's about my overt confidence in my music," he added. "The audience gave me that confidence by celebrating it and going nuts for it just like I do, and finally Tom Werman at Epic Records realized it, and 40 million albums later, the rest of the industry can kiss my ass."
Nugent had some success in the '60s with his band The Amboy Dukes, which landed a hit with "Journey To The Center Of The Mind
." The group continued into the '70s, rebranded as "Ted Nugent And The Amboy Dukes." They built up a passionate live following but didn't sell a lot of records - their albums in 1973 and 1974 didn't chart. So it was understandable when record labels showed little interest, but it was also myopic. "Stranglehold" was included on Nugent's self-titled 1975 album, his first as a solo artist. That live energy that gave record executives pause ended up making him one of the biggest acts of the late '70s, when his albums sold in the millions.