Barracuda (song)

Barracuda (song)

"Barracuda" is a song written and recorded by the rock band Heart. It was released as the first single from the band's third album Little Queen (1977).


The song is an aggressive hard rock number with a galloping guitar riff. It has been noted for its use of natural harmonics, particularly in the intro where the harmonics are bent using the "whammy bar" (tremolo system) of the guitar.

Upon its release "Barracuda" became Heart's second top-twenty hit in the U.S., peaking at number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100. The song has become the band's signature song and is a staple on American classic rock radio playlists.


Ann Wilson revealed in interviews that the song was about Heart's anger towards Mushroom Records attempted publicity stunt involving sisters Ann and Nancy and a made-up lesbian affair. The song particularly focuses on Ann's rage towards a fan who came up to her after a concert asking how her "lover" was. She initially thought he was talking about her then-boyfriend, band member Michael Fisher. After he revealed he was talking about her sister Nancy Wilson, Ann became angry and went back to her hotel room to write the original lyrics of the song.

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 was known as "Sarah Barracuda" as a high school basketball star. The Wilson sisters disapproved, as they disagreed with Palin's politics, and sent a cease-and-desist letter to John McCain's campaign.

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. DeRosier, lead drummer on the recording and song co-writer, also supports the use of the song by the RNC. Noting that they are paying all licensing fees, the McCain campaign continues to use the song.

Other commercial usage and covers

  • "Barracuda" is referred to in the Strong Bad Email "guitar" in the web cartoon Homestar Runner, in which Strong Bad imitates a riff from the song.
  • This song is mentioned in popular sitcom Friends, where Chandler, Joey and Ross discuss the fact that Heart had split up (episode titled "The One With the Joke"). Chandler mentions Barracuda as being one of their greatest songs, Ross also says it's the first song he learned to play on the Keyboard
  • "Barracuda" is featured in the 2000 movie Charlie's Angels.
  • "Barracuda" is featured in the May 2002 episode "Dang Ol' Love" of the TV series King of the Hill.
  • "Barracuda" can be heard playing on Silvio Dante's car radio in the 2004 episode "Long Term Parking" on the HBO series The Sopranos.
  • In a season 2 episode of Reno 911!, the cast plays "Barracuda" after kicking out a local garage band for being too noisy and "playing crappy music."
  • "Barracuda" is featured in the 2004 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas video game on the K-DST radio station.
  • A cover of "Barracuda" is featured on Rasputina's 2005 live album A Radical Recital. Rasputina has played the song on tours and while opening for Primus.
  • The song was played in the 2005 movie Roll Bounce.
  • "Barracuda" is played at the bar on the alien spaceship in the 2006 video game Prey.
  • "Barracuda" was covered by pop, R&B and hip-hop singer Fergie for the soundtrack of the 2007 animated film Shrek the Third. It was released as a promo for the film.
  • Alice in Chains covered this song with Gretchen Wilson at the 2007 VH1 Rock Honors.
  • "Barracuda" is a playable song for the Wii, Xbox 360, PC, PS2 and PS3 versions of the 2007 video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. However, it is a cover version, not the original recording.
  • Heart performed "Barracuda" with Anastacia on Frosted Pink, an entertainment show in aid of Breast Cancer, in October 2007.
  • "Barracuda" is played during the 2008 Honda Odyssey commercial "Viking".
  • On 25 January 2008, Heart performed "Barracuda" on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to celebrate Ellen's 50th Birthday. Ellen provided an intro on Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. On Ellen's 2008 "Summer Preview" episode, she and Josh Groban played this song in their Guitar Hero duel. Ellen won.
  • Heart performs "Barracuda" on Idol Gives Back on April 9, 2008, with Fergie, who sang in harmony with Ann Wilson.
  • In the My Name is Earl season 4 episode Joy in a Bubble, Barracuda is played when Joy goes to get her kids from the party.


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