Audiences that catch Pat Benatar on tour this summer might be surprised to find one of the singer’s most beloved songs missing from her set list.
Benatar, a four-time Grammy winner, told USA Today she would no longer perform her 1980 hit “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” to protest gun violence.
“I’m sorry, out of respect for the victims of the families of these mass killings, I’m not singing it,” she told the publication in an interview published Friday.
“[The title] is ironic, but you have to draw a line,” she continued. “I can’t say those words out loud with a smile on my face, I just can’t.”
“Hit Me with Your Best Shot”, from the 1980 album “Crimes of Passion”, was Benatar’s first Top 10 single. Written by Eddie Schwartz, the song includes the chorus: “Why don’t you hit me- You don’t with your best shot, hit me with your best shot, shoot!”
The track has become a staple of karaoke bars and was memorably performed by Catherine Zeta-Jones in the musical “Rock of Ages.” Kelly Clarkson also covered the song on her 2012 Stronger Tour.
On Friday, Benatar admitted that fans were “having a heart attack” over his decision to omit the song from his recent concerts. She hopes they’ll console themselves by listening to other great hits from her catalog, like 1979’s “Heartbreaker” and 1983’s “Love Is a Battlefield” — or by staying home.
“I tell them, if you want to hear the song, go home and listen to it,” she said. “I’m not going to go on stage and do the podium – I’m going to see my legislators – but this is my small contribution to the protest. I’m not going to sing it. Hard.”
As of Friday, there have been 357 mass shootings in the United States so far this year, according to Gun Violence Archive. Last month, President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan gun safety bill that includes enhanced background checks for under-21s and additional mental health funding.
Still, Biden and other Democrats admitted the legislation fell far short of the reforms supporters had hoped for, such as banning assault weapons.
Elsewhere in his USA Today chat, Benatar said the June Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade and eliminating the federal abortion law was also on her mind as she planned her tour.
Although her song “Invincible” was released in 1985, she believes its message of empowerment will continue to resonate with modern audiences given the current political climate.
“I am worried, like all of us, for basic autonomy rights,” Benatar said. It’s a slippery slope. It’s not about abortion for me. I’m afraid people don’t pay attention to what that actually means.
The Huffington Gt