American rock singer Pat Benatar will no longer perform one of her hit songs following a marked rise in gun violence in the U.S. Benatar, who is currently on tour, told USA Today she will not sing “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” in deference to those affected by mass shootings.
Released in 1980, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” was a single on her second album “Crimes of Passion.” It is widely recognized as one of Benatar’s most famous songs and contains the lyrics, “hit me with your best shot”/ “fire away.”
While Benatar said some fans give her a hard time for removing it from her set list, she still refuses to sing it, calling it a “small protest.”
“I tell them, if you want to hear the song, go home and listen to it,” Benatar told USA Today. “(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.”
Benatar first scored a record deal in 1978. She and her eventual husband Neil Giraldol became an influential duo in rock and roll, selling over 36 million albums and recording 15 hit songs that charted on Billboard’s Top 40. She has won four Grammys and will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in November.
Over the course of her decades-long career, Benatar has been an outspoken advocate for many causes, becoming an icon of female empowerment. In a November 2021 interview with “,” Benatar told correspondent Jim Axelrod about her efforts to push back against people in the music industry who tried to abuse their power.
“In the beginning, I mean, I was still kind of, like, timid,” she said. “And then I finally started to realize, ‘Wait. I have an opportunity here. If I change this for myself, it will start the ripple effect.’ I had power now. So, that changed everything.”