Everyone has their own form of protest. For rock and roll legend Pat Benatar, that means one of her biggest hits will won’t be part of her tour this summer. In light of a horrifying string of mass shootings and school shootings, the 69-year-old singer and songwriter won’t be performing “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” until further notice.
“We’re not doing ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ and fans are having a heart attack and I’m like, I’m sorry, in deference to the victims of the families of these mass shootings, I’m not singing it,” she told USA Today. “I tell them, if you want to hear the song, go home and listen to it.”
The hit, which was written by Eddie Schwartz and released as a single in 1980, became Benatar’s first Top 10 on the Billboard 100. And it’s still one of her most popular tunes, along with classics like “Love Is A Battlefield” and “We Belong.”
But the song, which includes the title lyrics as well as the words, “fire away,” is a little too close to current events for Benatar.
“(The title) is tongue-in-cheek, but you have to draw the line,” she continued. “I can’t say those words out loud with a smile on my face, I just can’t. I’m not going to go on stage and soapbox – I go to my legislators – but that’s my small contribution to protesting. I’m not going to sing it. Tough.”
One of the deadliest school shootings in history took place in May in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 children and two teachers were murdered. And the United States hasn’t gone a week without a mass shooting in 2022.
Benatar is far from the first musical artist to protest gun violence — though her choice to not sing a song that has firearm imagery seems to be novel. Even in the past few weeks, during the latest cluster of shootings, stars like Olivia Rodrigo and Hasley have protested during shows and called for more sensible gun laws.
In the same interview, Benatar said that she’s singing some hits from her heyday that are still relevant to politics today. Specifically, that she sings her hit “Invincible” in response to political current event issues like the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
“I’m worried, like all of us, about fundamental autonomy rights,” she said. “This is a slippery slope.”
Benatar will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in November. Her national tour wraps up in September.