The Billboard record charts are the key to understanding the meaning of Gimme Back My Bullets. Lynyrd Skynyrd wasn’t changing their position on gun control…..they were expressing frustration that their songs weren’t doing better on the charts.
Here is the definition of the types of bullets they meant (as captured in wikionary.org)…..
with a bullet
- (of a hit record) that has entered the charts in a high position, or has climbed rapidly in the charts, or is thought to have the potential for further rapid advancement
- “Free The World” has moved up again and is now Number 25 with a bullet on the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play Charts!!”
There is a significant debate going on in the United States today regarding gun control. I won’t bore you with the specifics of this debate, or my position regarding the debate, but it has reminded me of a related discussion involving Lynyrd Skynyrd back in the 1970s.
In 1975, the group released their Nuthin Fancy album which featured a song called Saturday Night Special. Let’s listen……
I think the meaning of this song was pretty clear….get rid of “Saturday Night Specials”! Note: Saturday Night Special is a slang term for cheap handguns that were very easy to acquire back in the 1970s and accounted for a significant number of murders. This was a surprising message coming from a southern rock group. It caused quite a stir and more than a little backlash from gun rights activists.
The group then proceeded to greatly confuse their position on gun control the very next year by releasing an album named Gimme Back My Bullets. Let’s listen to the title song from the album…..
Many people chose to interpret Gimme Back My Bullets as an indication that the band had changed their minds regarding the gun control message of Saturday Night Special. Gun rights activists celebrated the song and you can still find YouTube videos today using the song to rail against any type of gun control.
The debate of the real meaning of these two, seemingly contradictory, songs continues to this day but I know their real meanings. Post a comment and let me know your thoughts about their meanings. I will do a short post tomorrow and tell you what I know about the topic.