|Single by Heart|
|from the album Little Queen|
|B-side||"Cry to Me"|
|Genre||Hard rock, heavy metal|
|Heart singles chronology|
Ann Wilson revealed in interviews that the song was about Heart's anger towards Mushroom Records, who as a publicity stunt released a made-up story of an incestuous affair involving Ann and her sister Nancy Wilson. 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 outraged, went back to her hotel room, and wrote the original lyrics of the song.
Producer Mike Flicker added that Mushroom Records 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."
"Barracuda" has been labeled by reviewers as heavy metal and hard rock. Upon the song's release, it became Heart's second top-20 hit in the US, peaking at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. 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, despite the McCain campaign's claim to have lawfully purchased rights to use the song.
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. Michael Derosier, a co-writer of the song and the band's drummer on the recording, also supports the use of the song by the RNC. 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."
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- Indie rock band The Dismemberment Plan performed a version of the song in October 2013 for The A.V. Club's A.V. Undercover series.
- Lea Michele and Adam Lambert covered the song for the Glee season 5 episode "Trio".
- Kat Perkins recorded a version of the song for her 2014 extended play, Fearless.
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