The lyrics and video are quite comical because they are so obviously about sex. Warrant got away with it because the sexual imagery had double meanings: There was no way to prove they weren't singing about an actual pie.
In a 1992 interview with BAM magazine, Warrant's songwriter/frontman Jani Lane said: "A blessing and a curse, that song. I had fun writing it, all 20 minutes. And I had fun singing it. Unfortunately, the song rubbed some people the wrong way. And, of course, the whole title got out of control. It became the album title, the first video... Cherry Pie this, Cherry Pie that. I had fun recording the tune, but it’s probably the last of its type in our repertoire."
The song was written and recorded in a matter of days in a bid to satisfy their label bosses after the band had wrapped up and turned in their album. Warrant bassist Jerry Dixon told Rock AAA: "That record was done and the president of Columbia Records thought we need one more song, an upbeat anthem kinda like 'We Will Rock You
' chanting kind of song. A couple of days later 'Cherry Pie' was written, we set everything up, recorded it and there wasn't a lot of thought put into it.It was a last minute thing so for it to turn into of the biggest things we ever did was crazy – maybe we should have done them all like that.In my opinion a hit is something that is contrived when a label shoves a song down your throat and has radio playing it. It is really just people hearing it over and over. Yes, it has to be a good song but if you hear something enough and people tell you enough times something is a hit – then it will be a hit."
The music video is one of the most memorable of the era when MTV was still devoted to the form. The woman in the video is Bobbie Brown, who was a winner in the spokesmodel competition of the TV show Star Search. When Jani Lane saw her on the show, he had the band's manager track her down and cast her in the video, where she playfully teases out all the innuendo in the lyrics.
Brown became one of the most famous video vixens of all time, and went on to a few acting roles, appearing in the movies The Last Action Hero and Kounterfeit and TV shows News Radio and Married With Children. Soon after shooting the "Cherry Pie" video, she and Jani Lane started dating, and in 1991 they got married, but divorced two years later.
Before this song was written, the album was set to be called Uncle Tom's Cabin, after another track on the LP. According to Jani Lane, Columbia Records had just signed Aerosmith, and their president asked him to write a swaggering rocker in the Aerosmith tradition: an anthem full of double entendres that could serve as a single. He wrote it that night and the band did the demo the next day.
Jani Lane took some heat over this song from folks who found it offensive to women. He answered this criticism by explaining that with three sisters - and later, two daughters - he had a healthy respect for those lacking a Y chromosome. "It makes you laugh that it actually offended anybody," he said. "It was a very misinterpreted song. It was meant to be tongue-in-cheek and fun."
Note that on the album cover, the waitress is a redhead, which synchs with the "cherry pie" metaphor. In the video, she's blond, and not always dressed like a waitress.
In a VH1 interview, Lane suggested that he hated "Cherry Pie" for the fact that it defined him and his musical legacy. "My legacy is 'Cherry Pie.' Everything about me is 'Cherry Pie.' I'm the 'Cherry Pie' guy."
Then, with no apparent sense of sarcasm or hyperbole, Lane added, "I could shoot myself in the f--king head for writing that song."
That final statement seemed so emotional and honest that it followed Lane around for a while. Speaking to Blabbermouth, however, he later cleared up the issue and said that he'd only made such a dramatic statement because he was going through a divorce and his mother had recently passed away. With all the emotional pressure on him, he didn't want to be doing the interview to begin with. "You know, push that interview to the side, I'm happy as a clam to have written a song that is still being played and still dug by so many people. It's hard enough to write a song, let alone one that sticks around."