“Barracuda” is a song written and recorded by the rock band Heart. It was released as the first single from the band’s second album Little Queen (1977).
The song is an aggressive hard rock number notable for a galloping guitar riff and its use of natural harmonics.
Upon its release “Barracuda” became Heart’s second top-20 hit in the U.S., peaking at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song has become the band’s signature song and is a staple on American classic rock radio playlists.
In 2009, it was named the 34th best hard rock song of all time by VH1
|Origin||(Members from) Seattle,
(Band based in) Vancouver,
British Columbia, Canada (1973-1976)
|Genres||Hard rock, folk rock|
|Years active||1973 (1973)–present|
|Labels||Mushroom Records/Epic/Sony BMG/Portrait/Legacy (1976-1983)
Shout! Factory/Sovereign (2004- 2009) Sony Legacy (2010- )
|Associated acts||The Lovemongers, Alias|
Heart is an American rock band who first found success in Canada. Throughout several lineup changes, the only two members remaining constant are sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson. The group rose to fame in the 1970s with their music being influenced by hard rock as well as folk music. After diminishing in popularity for a couple of years in the early 80s, the band enjoyed a comeback in 1985, experiencing further successes with their power ballads and pop hits into the 1990s.
Over their four-decade career, Heart has had chart successes with songs in genres ranging from hard rock and metal to folk rock. With Jupiter’s Darling (2004) and Red Velvet Car (2010), Heart made a return to their hard rock/acoustic roots of the late 70s. To date, Heart has sold over 35 million albums worldwide. Heart was ranked 57 on VH1’s “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock”.
In 1967 Steve Fossen formed The Army along with Roger Fisher on guitar, Don Wilhelm on guitar, keyboards and lead vocals, Ray Schaefer on drums. Fossen played the bass. They played for several years in and around the Bothell, Washington area (northeast of Seattle). They frequently played Bothell High School, Inglemoor High School and Shorecrest High School, as well as many taverns and club venues. They frequented the club “Parker’s” on Aurora Avenue in north Seattle during the 1970s when it was known as the “Aquarius Tavern”. In 1969 the band went through line-up changes (Gary Ziegelman on lead vocals, Roger on guitar, Steve on bass, James Cirrello on guitar, Ron Rudge on drums, Ken Hansen on percussion, and Debi Cuidon on vocals[ and a new name, White Heart (from Tales from the White Hart, a collection of short stories by Arthur C. Clarke). For a brief time in 1970 this line-up shortened its name to Heart; however, the band went through more personnel changes, and when Ann Wilson joined in late 1970, the band was named Hocus Pocus. Mike Fisher, Roger’s brother, was set to be drafted. Nancy Wilson has stated that when he did not report for duty, his home was raided, but he slipped out a rear window, escaped to Canada and became a Vietnam War draft dodger.
One day in 1971, Mike crossed the border to visit family and, by chance, met Ann at a Hocus Pocus show. According to Nancy, that meeting was “when she and Michael fell in love” and Ann decided to follow Mike back to Canada. Steve Fossen finished his college education before he also decided to move to Canada in late 1972, and Roger followed in late 1972 / early 1973, and along with Mike and Ann, the band Heart was officially formed. Nancy joined in 1974, and soon after became involved with Roger. In 1974 the Heart lineup consisted of Ann, Nancy, Roger, Steve, John Hannah (keyboards), and Brian Johnstone (drums).
Ann and Nancy Wilson
The Wilson sisters grew up in Southern California and Taiwan before their Marine Corps father retired to the Seattle suburbs. After Ann graduated from Sammamish High School in Bellevue, Washington, she joined Roger Fisher in the band Hocus Pocus where she met Roger’s brother Mike in 1971, and followed him back to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Meanwhile, Nancy finished high school then went to college where she majored in art and German literature. She then played solo gigs until 1974 when she quit college and moved to Canada to join Heart.
Heart’s residency in Canada was long enough for the group to gain recognition as “Canadian artists” by the CRTC for the purposes of broadcasting. This status meant that the group’s early recordings qualified as Canadian content and therefore received increased attention from radio programmers. In their early days the group told audiences that they were from Canada, even though all the members of Heart were citizens of the United States and were never permanent residents of Canada.
After many one-night shows around their new home in Vancouver, Canada, the group recorded a demo tape with the assistance of producer Mike Flicker and session-guitarist and keyboard player, Howard Leese. Hannah and Johnstone had left by this time, and soon after Leese became a full-time member of the group. The same team then cut the debut album, Dreamboat Annie, which attracted the attention of the newly formed Mushroom Records in 1975, a Vancouver-based label run by Shelly Siegel. Drummers Duris Maxwell, Dave Wilson, Kat Hendrikse and Michael Derosier were among those who played on the sessions for the album. Derosier eventually joined them as their full-time drummer.
Upon release in Canada, the album was first picked up for radio airplay by a station in Montreal. Airplay on Canadian stations soon picked up, helped in part by the fact that the album qualified as “Canadian content.” The album sold an impressive 30,000 copies across Canada in its first few months. In the US, Siegel released the album first in the Seattle area where it quickly sold another 25,000 copies. With two hit singles, “Crazy on You” (#35, 1976) and “Magic Man” (#9, 1976), Dreamboat Annie eventually sold over 1 million copies.
Mike Fisher was able to freely return to the United States with the members of Heart after President Jimmy Carter granted amnesty to Vietnam draft dodgers upon taking office on January 21, 1977. By this time Heart had broken its contract with Mushroom Records and signed with CBS subsidiary Portrait, a move that resulted in a prolonged legal battle with Siegel. He released the partly completed Magazine just before Portrait released Little Queen. A Seattle court ruled that Mushroom Records had to recall Magazine so that the group could remix several tracks and redo vocals before re-releasing the disc; Heart had wanted the album taken off the market completely. Hence, Magazine was released twice, both before and after Little Queen.