Janie's Got a Gun

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"Janie's Got a Gun"
Single by Aerosmith
from the album Pump
B-side"Voodoo Medicine Man"
ReleasedSeptember 20, 1989
FormatCassette, CD, 12" single, 7" single
GenreHard rock
Length5:38 (Album Version/With Water Song Instrumental)
5:28 (Single Version)
Songwriter(s)Steven Tyler and Tom Hamilton
Producer(s)Bruce Fairbairn
Aerosmith singles chronology
"Janie's Got a Gun"
"What It Takes"
Audio sample
Janie's Got a Gun

"Janie's Got a Gun" is a song performed by American hard rock band Aerosmith and written by Steven Tyler and Tom Hamilton. It was originally titled "Danny's Got a Gun" after a close friend of Tyler, but was later changed. 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. 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 "...and left him in the pouring rain" for the radio airplay version to make the song sound less graphic than it actually was.

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


External links[edit]