“Janie’s Got a Gun” was released as the second single from Aerosmith’s 1989 album, Pump. The single was released on November 8, 1989, and peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
“Janie’s Got a Gun” tells the story of a girl named Janie who is sexually abused by her father who takes revenge on him by shooting him. I was 14 at the time this song was released, and the fact that it tackled such a heavy social issue made it stand out from a lot of other songs that were being released at the time. I also liked how this song sounded musically. It really left an impression on me at the time it was being promoted as a single, and I still really like this song 25 years later. “Janie’s Got a Gun” definitely ranks up there as my all-time favorite Aerosmith song.
The music video for “Janie’s Got a Gun” was directed by David Fincher, who also directed the video for Madonna’s “Oh Father.” When Fincher directed this video, he made it feel more like a mini-movie than he did a music video. Visually, the video is stunning and well done, and it perfectly illustrates what the song is about. To me, this music video still ranks up there among some of the best I’ve ever seen. And I’m glad the music video used the album version of the song instead of the radio version with an edited line: “And put a bullet in his brain” was changed to “And left him in the pouring rain” for the radio version. I always thought that changed line for the radio version weakened the song a little.