Eighties rocker Pat Benatar announced that she is ditching one of her most famous songs from her current tour — “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” — out of respect for the victims of recent mass shootings and their families.
Benatar, who was the first female artist to be played on MTV and is set to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in November, explained the decision in a USA Today interview that was published on Thursday — along with her decision to add a cover of the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” to her lineup.
As a veteran of the rock circus and the first female artist played on MTV, Pat Benatar is well-versed in navigating gender minefields. https://t.co/dQU8uuqkr4
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) July 21, 2022
“You’ve been singing those big vocal songs including ‘Heartbreaker’ on this tour. You’ve also been playing (The Beatles’) ‘Helter Skelter.’ Why that song?” USA Today asked.
“Because I want to have some (expletive) fun!” Benatar replied. “We’re doing a lot of songs we don’t always play like ‘In the Heat of the Night’ and ‘I Need a Lover.’”
Benatar went on to say that there were a handful of songs that the fans always expected to hear — and while she did her best to keep the audience happy, but there was one song that she was just no longer comfortable performing.
“We have what we call the ‘holy 14’ — songs that if we don’t play them, you’ll give us (a hard time),” she explained. “And 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.”
Benatar concluded by saying that she didn’t intend to take the stage on tour and lecture her audience on the politics involved, but that she just couldn’t continue to perform the song in good conscience.
“I tell them, if you want to hear the song, go home and listen to it,” the singer said. “(The title) is tongue-in-cheek, but you have to draw the line. 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.”