Guns have been part of American history since the colonists were killing their own food and fighting off the emissaries of King George with the Pennsylvania Long Rifle. It’s no surprise that guns are also part of our musical culture, past and present.
It goes without saying that country music songs offer a plethora of gun references. Heck, the dramatic ballads of Marty Robbins’s work alone could produce a 10 (or 12, or 20) Gun Songs list. A mostly modern era list of gun-influenced country songs, with a nod to more or less historical artists, can be found here.
Those of us whose tastes run in the classic rock/blues vein can make our own list. There’s no doubt that Lynrd Skynrd is our version of Marty Robbins…as a result, many references to their music have been left out here to make room for others. In no particular order, here are ten classic rock/blues songs with references to our nation’s favorite survival tool:
1. Bad Company – Bad Company
2. Mr. Saturday Night Special – Lynrd Skynrd
Lynrd Skynrd’s first appearance on this list reflects on the handful of variations on “cheating,” not to mention drunkenness, that result in decisions with guns that almost always land a body in the hoosegow.
3. Manhattan – Bob Seger
One of Bob Seger’s lesser hits from the Ed Koch era names every common form of shotgun ammunition, in the hands of someone on the wrong side of the law.
4. Janie’s Got a Gun – Aerosmith
Aerosmith’s hit and singer/songwriter Steven Tyler’s PSA about child sexual abuse is catchy despite the dark subject matter. Maybe it’s the sweet taste of vengeance that makes this one so good.
5. Cleaning My Gun – Mark Knopfler
By former Dire Straits front man Mark Knopfler. Too bad this wasn’t a bigger hit, because it has it all—situational awareness and firearm maintenance. Take a listen.
6. Leroy Brown – Jim Croce
Better be badass, seeing as he carries a caliber considered by many as inadequate for personal defense, and goes around touching other guys’ wives.
7. Boot Hill – Stevie Ray Vaughn
Blues guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughn says “hand me down my shootin’ iron” in these ominous lyrics referencing the final resting place of cowboys who suffered from sudden-onset lead poisoning.
8. Gimme Back My Bullets – Lynrd Skynrd
And my primers, powder and casings. Thanks again, Lynrd Skynrd.
9. The EDC Song – Jordan Winkler
Jordan Winkler is the Weird Al Yankovic of firearms. This parody of Alanis Morrisette’s Hand in My Pocket describes lots of Guns.com readers, perhaps too well!
10. The Warrior Song
Just the most kickass patriotic fight song ever, by veterans’ benefit organization The Warrior Project. It’ll bring out the best in you if you put it in your workout mix. TWP has created a version of the Warrior Song for most branches of the military.
What’s your favorite gun-referencing song? Post it in the comments.