Ann Wilson explained in interviews that the song was about Heart’s anger towards Mushroom Records, which as a publicity stunt printed a tale that Ann and her sister Nancy Wilson were having an incestuous affair. An important aspect of the song focuses on Ann’s fury at a radio promoter who approached her after a concert and asked her how her “lover” was doing. At first, she thought he was talking about her boyfriend, band manager Michael Fisher.
In an interview with Gear Factor in March 2019, Nancy Wilson revealed that the guitar riff for “Barracuda” was influenced by Nazareth’s cover of the Joni Mitchell song “This Flight Tonight”.
In the words of Wilson:
We’ve been opening for a band called Nazareth in Europe and also for Queen. And Nazareth had a hit with a Joni Mitchell song that they covered [in 1973] called ‘This Flight Tonight’ that had kind of that riff.
So we kind of borrowed that. And we made it into ‘Barracuda.’ And we saw the guys from Nazareth later and they were pissed. ‘You took our riff!’.
But that’s kind of what everybody – you borrow from what you love and then you make it your own. It’s one of those sounds too, it’s one of those guitar tones that I’m still trying to figure out what we did. [Laughs] It’s hard to re-create.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MR28NW1sLM
Reviews describe Barracuda as heavy metal and hard rock. This was Heart’s second top-20 hit in the United States, peaking at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, spending 20 weeks on the chart.
“an aggressive rocker, tempered with sparkling production and Ann Wilson’s alluring lead vocal..” is how Cash Box describes it.
Darias Version of Barracuda
The predatory fish on the rock stage is Daria. Her performance outperforms that of many other rock singers. It’s hard not to be impressed by Daria’s voice. The band is also easy to listen to because of autotune and processing on the PC.
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