Pat Benatar Won't Perform "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" to Respect Gun Violence Victims

On her 2022 tour, the vocalist says, "I can't say those words out loud with a smile on my face, I just can't"

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Jul 21, 2022

Years before she sang of how "Love Is a Battlefield," Pat Benatar called on listeners to "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" on a humorous single that would go on to be a Top 10 hit in Canada and sell over a million copies in her native United States. Now, fans heading out to catch Benatar on tour are finding the song isn't in the setlist. 

As Benatar told USA Today, she and her band have retired "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" on their current trek through the US out of respect for victims of gun violence.

She explains, "We have what we call the 'holy 14' songs that if we don't play them, you'll give us [a hard time.] 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's message to those upset at her considerate choice is simple: "I tell them, if you want to hear the song, go home and listen to it."

Benatar continued: "[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 soap box – I go to my legislators – but that's my small contribution to protesting. I'm not going to sing it. Tough."

There are plenty other songs from inside and out of Benatar's catalogue to enjoy at performances, including a cover of the Beatles' "Helter Skelter." What made that song the one to pick? "Because I want to have some [expletive] fun! We're doing a lot of songs we don't always play like 'In the Heat of the Night' and 'I Need a Lover,'" she said.

You can find the artist's tour dates here. In November, Benatar will officially be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside fellow 2022 classmates Eminem, Dolly Parton, Duran Duran, Lionel Richie and more.

Of the honour, she shared with USA Today, "What's fun for us is to watch how excited everyone else is – our family or friends or the [DJ] in Seattle who put that first cartridge in his radio station with 'Heartbreaker' on it. But listen, it's great. It's great for our kids. But the truth is, they're acknowledging work that has already been done, so it doesn't change anything. It doesn't do anything to validate me as a person, but it's nice."

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