Janie's Got a Gun

"Janie's Got a Gun"
Single by Aerosmith
from the album Pump
B-side"Voodoo Medicine Man"
ReleasedSeptember 1989 (1989-09)
GenreHard rock
  • 5:38 (album version with "Water Song" instrumental intro)
  • 5:28 (single edit)
  • 4:16 (clean radio version)
Producer(s)Bruce Fairbairn
Aerosmith singles chronology
"Janie's Got a Gun"
"What It Takes"
Audio sample

"Janie's Got a Gun" is a song performed by American hard rock band Aerosmith and written by Steven Tyler and Tom Hamilton. The song was released as the second single from Pump in 1989, peaking at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart in 1990. In Australia, the song reached number one, becoming Aerosmith's first of two number-one singles there. It also reached number two in Canada, number 12 in Poland and Sweden, and number 13 in New Zealand.

The song won the band a 1990 Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.[1]

Song structure[edit]

On the album, "Janie's Got a Gun" is preceded by a 10-second instrumental called "Water Song", which features the work of instrumentalist Randy Raine-Reusch, who uses a glass harmonica, wind gong, and bullroarers to produce the special effects heard at the start of the song.[2]

Background and writing[edit]

Tyler came up with the main riff of "Janie's Got a Gun" using a low-tone setting on his keyboard.[citation needed] Hamilton then came up with the bassline. The guitars and drum parts were configured in later and Tyler wrote the lyrics. The guitar solo is played by Joe Perry and is accompanied by the main riff and rhythmic clapping.

Tyler said he came up with the title and melody before he knew what direction he wanted the song to take. It had taken nine months to finish the lyrics; after Tyler read a Newsweek article on gunshot victims, he was able to connect the song with the theme of child abuse and incest.[3][4] The singer declared that "I got really angry that nobody was paying homage to those who were abused by Mom and Dad".[5] The line "He jacked a little bitty baby" was originally "He raped a little bitty baby," but was changed for commercial purposes. Tyler often sings the original line when performing live. In addition, the line "...and put a bullet in his brain" was sometimes changed to "...she left him in the pouring rain" for the radio airplay version to make the song sound less graphic than it actually was.[citation needed]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by David Fincher.



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[18] Platinum 70,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "Winners: Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal". Grammy.com. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  2. ^ Raine-Reusch, Randy. "Aeromsith, Yes, Cranberries". asza.com. Retrieved 2016-05-02.
  3. ^ https://www.rollingstone.com/music/pictures/readers-poll-the-10-best-aerosmith-songs-of-all-time-20121107/8-janies-got-a-gun-0242863
  4. ^ https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/talk-this-way-rolling-stones-1994-interview-with-aerosmiths-steven-tyler-20110427?page=4
  5. ^ 25th anniversary interview
  6. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Aerosmith – Janie's Got a Gun". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  7. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6713." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  8. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - Indice per Interprete: A". Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  9. ^ "Charts.nz – Aerosmith – Janie's Got a Gun". Top 40 Singles.
  10. ^ "Notowanie nr421" (in Polish). LP3. March 17, 1990. Retrieved February 26, 2019. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  11. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Aerosmith – Janie's Got a Gun". Singles Top 100.
  12. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  13. ^ "Aerosmith Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  14. ^ "Aerosmith Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard.
  15. ^ "ARIA Charts - End Of Year Charts - Top 50 Singles 1990". ARIA. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  16. ^ "Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1990". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1990". Archived from the original on 2009-07-06. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  18. ^ "1990 ARIA Singles Chart". ARIA. Retrieved October 25, 2018.

External links[edit]