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Pat Benatar Explains Why She Can’t Sing ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ Live Anymore

Pat Benatar has pointedly dropped one of her biggest songs, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” from her tour setlist out of respect for the victims of mass shootings.

In an interview with USA Today, Benatar noted that she and her band have what’s referred to as the “holy 14” — “songs that if we don’t play them, you’ll give us [a hard time].” Of course, 1980’s power pop smash “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” is typically part of that “holy 14,” but not on her current North American tour.  

“[F]ans are having a heart attack and I’m like, I’m sorry, in deference to the victims of the families of these mass shootings, I’m not singing it,” Benatar said. “I tell them, if you want to hear the song, go home and listen to it. [The title] is tongue-in-cheek, but you have to draw the line. I can’t say those words out loud with a smile on my face, I just can’t. I’m not going to go on stage and soapbox — I go to my legislators — but that’s my small contribution to protesting. I’m not going to sing it. Tough.”

Benatar has tour dates scheduled throughout the summer, and on top of that, she and her husband/musical collaborator Neil Giraldo are gearing up for the world premiere of their new musical, Invincible. The show pairs Benatar and Giraldo’s music with a contemporary take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The show will play at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, California, between Nov. 22 and Dec. 17.

Later this year, Benatar will also be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will take place Nov. 5 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and air at a later date on HBO. Along with Benatar, the class of 2022 includes Eminem, Dolly Parton, Duran Duran, Lionel Richie, Eurythmics, and Carly Simon.

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