Barracuda (song)

Single by Heart
from the album Little Queen
B-side "Cry to Me"
Released May 1977
Format 7" single
Recorded 1977
Genre Hard rock, Heavy metal
Length 4:22
Label Portrait
Producer(s) Mike Flicker
Heart singles chronology
"Dreamboat Annie"
"Little Queen"

"Barracuda" is a song by the American rock band Heart. It was released as the first single from the band's second album Little Queen (1977).


Ann Wilson revealed in interviews that the song was about Heart's anger towards Mushroom Records' attempted publicity stunt involving her and her sister Nancy Wilson in a made-up incestuous affair. The song particularly focuses on Ann's rage towards a man who came up to her after a concert asking how her "lover" was. She initially thought he was talking about her boyfriend, band manager Michael Fisher. After he revealed he was talking about her sister Nancy, Ann became angry and went back to her hotel room to write the original lyrics of the song.[1] Producer Mike Flicker added that Mushroom was so obtuse in the contract negotiations that Heart decided to discard the album they were working on, Magazine - which the label still released in an unfinished form - and instead sign with the newly formed Portrait Records to make another record, Little Queen. As Flicker put it, "'Barracuda' was created conceptually out of a lot of this record business bullshit. Barracuda could be anyone from the local promotion man to the president of a record company. That is the barracuda. It was born out of that whole experience."[2]


The song is an aggressive early try at heavy metal, but some refer to it as a heavy hard rock number notable for a galloping guitar riff and its use of natural harmonics.[3]

Upon its release "Barracuda" became Heart's second top-20 hit in the U.S., peaking at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.[4] The song has become the band's signature song and is a staple on American classic rock radio playlists.

In 2009, it was named the 34th best hard rock song of all time by VH1.

Usage at the 2008 Republican National Convention

"Barracuda" was played at the 2008 Republican National Convention in reference to John McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, who claims she was known as "Sarah Barracuda" as a high school basketball star (and as "Sarracuda" after the convention, a play on her name). The Wilson sisters disapproved, as they disagreed with Palin's politics, and sent a cease-and-desist letter to John McCain's campaign,[5] despite the McCain campaign's claim to have lawfully purchased rights to use the song.[6]

In an appearance on a Seattle talk show, song co-writer and lead guitarist Roger Fisher announced he was thrilled with the RNC's use of the song, because it both resulted in royalties for the band and gave them an opportunity to publicly point out that he is a "staunch" supporter of Barack Obama.[7] Derosier, lead drummer on the recording and song co-writer, also supports the use of the song by the RNC.[8] The McCain campaign continued to use the song, despite Nancy Wilson's statement to Entertainment Weekly that "Sarah Palin’s views and values in no way represent us as American women."[6][9]


In popular culture

Chart performance

Weekly charts

Chart (1977) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[20] 15
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[21] 16
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[22] 30
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[23] 2
Germany (Official German Charts)[24] 8
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[25] 29
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[26] 37
South African Singles Chart[27] 1
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[28] 14
US Billboard Hot 100[29] 11

Year-end charts

Chart (1977) Rank
Australia [30] 94
Canada [31] 37
US Billboard [32] 53


  1. "Original TV Shows, Reality TV Shows". VH1. 2016-09-30. Retrieved 2016-10-12.
  2. "Classic Tracks: Heart's "Barracuda"". Mixonline. 1999-01-09. Retrieved 2016-10-12.
  3. Saulnier, Jason (March 15, 2012). "Roger Fisher Interview". Music Legends. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 21, 2012. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
  5. "Heart to Sarah Palin: Don't Play 'Barracuda'". Fox News. 2008-09-05. Retrieved 2016-10-12.
  6. 1 2 "McCain and Palin once again play 'Barracuda'". CNN.
  7. "Heart's Roger Fisher thrilled with RNC 'Barracuda' play Archived September 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine." Summary and link to streaming audio. KIRO 97.3 FM
  8. On-air interview with Roger Fisher, by Dori Monson, 710 KIRO, Seattle
  9. "Heart's Nancy Wilson responds to McCain campaign's use of 'Barracuda' at Republican convention", Entertainment Weekly, May 9, 2008.
  10. Modell, Josh (2013-10-08). "The Dismemberment Plan covers Heart · A.V. Undercover · The A.V. Club". Retrieved 2016-10-12.
  11. Wass, Mike (2014-03-03). "Adam Lambert And Lea Michele Cover Heart's Classic Rock Anthem "Barracuda" For 'Glee': Listen". Retrieved 2014-03-05.
  12. "Various - Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Official Soundtrack Box Set (Box Set)". 2004-12-07. Retrieved 2016-10-12.
  13. "Guitar Hero 3 Setlist Revealed". PCWorld. October 26, 2007. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  14. "Rocksmith Classic Rock DLC pack now available through Xbox Live in Europe". Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  15. "Prey (Video Game 2006)". IMDb. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  16. "You Again (2010)". IMDb. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  17. "The Campaign (2012)". IMDb. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  18. Nowalk, Brandon (January 24, 2013). "Suburgatory: "Chinese Chicken"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved December 25, 2014.
  19. "Identity Thief (2013)". IMDb. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  20. " – Heart – Barracuda". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  21. " – Heart – Barracuda" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  22. " – Heart – Barracuda" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  23. "Top Singles - Volume 28, No. 2, October 08 1977". RPM. Retrieved August 18, 2011.
  24. " – Heart – Barracuda". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  25. " – Heart – Barracuda" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  26. " – Heart – Barracuda". Top 40 Singles.
  27. Brian Currin. "South African Rock Lists Website - SA Charts 1969 - 1989 Acts (H)". Retrieved August 18, 2011.
  28. " – Heart – Barracuda". Singles Top 100.
  29. "Heart – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Heart. Retrieved December 25, 2014.
  30. "Australian Chart Book". Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-12.
  31. "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-12.
  32. "Top 100 Hits of 1977/Top 100 Songs of 1977". Retrieved 2016-10-12.

External links

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