"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.
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.
This song is about a girl who shoots her father because he is sexually abusing her. Steven Tyler, who wrote the lyric, explained in the Walk This Way autobiography: "That song is about a girl getting raped and pillaged by her father. It's about incest, something that happens to a lot of kids who don't even find out about it until they find themselves trying to work through some major f--king neuroses.
Steven Tyler started writing the song in his basement, which was when he came up with the line "Janie's got a gun." He then sat on it for months, "waiting for the oracle door to open." Tyler told Rolling Stone it only became a song about child abuse after, "I looked over at a Time magazine and saw this article on 48 hours, minute by minute, of handgun deaths in the United States." He continued: "Then I got off on the child-abuse angle. I'd heard this woman speaking about how many children are attacked by their mothers and fathers. It was f---ing scary. I felt, man, I gotta sing about this. And that was it. That was my toe in the door."
The lyrics are about a girl named Janie who takes revenge on her father after years of being sexually abused by him.
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. The singer declared that "I got really angry that nobody was paying homage to those who were abused by Mom and Dad". 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.