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Pat Benatar Drops ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ After Spate of Gun Violence

'I can’t say those words out loud with a smile on my face,' the artist told USA Today
Pat Benatar
(Credit: Pete Still / Redferns)

Pat Benatar fans won’t get to enjoy the soon-to-be Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s biggest hit in concert for the time being, as the artist is omitting “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” from her live set lists due to the recent spate of mass shootings in the United States.

The Eddie Schwartz-penned song, a No. 9 hit on The Billboard Hot 100 in 1980, has been widely interpreted for decades as a metaphor for the rough-and-tumble nature of love and relationships rather than a commentary on guns or violence.

But in an interview with USA Today, Benatar said, “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.’ I tell them, ‘if you want to hear the song, go home and listen to it.’ [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 did perform “Hit Me With Your Best” a couple times this year, but not since the most recent leg of her tour in tandem with husband Neil Giraldo began on June 18 in Cincinnati. Benatar told USA Today that in the wake of the Supreme Court’s invalidation of Roe v. Wade, “I’m worried, like all of us, about fundamental autonomy rights. This is a slippery slope. It’s not about abortion for me. I’m concerned that people are not paying attention to what this actually means.”

As previously reported, Benatar and Giraldo will finally be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in November after 20 years on the ballot.