Heavy Hard Rock
Well, a barracuda could refer to the predatory tropical marine fish with a slender body and large jaws and teeth. In the case of this song, it’s the secondary definition of a someone who uses aggressive, selfish, and unethical methods to reach a goal — in particular, a business goal. “Barracuda” was written by Ann and Nancy Wilson with guitarist Roger Fisher and drummer Michael DeRosier about the music business. At the time, Heart had been contracted to Mushroom Records. Mushroom put an ad in the trade publications as a publicity stunt the lie that Ann and Nancy were having an incestuous affair. Heart discarded the album they were working on (Magazine) and went to CBS-Portrait Records to record their 1977 album Little Queen, on which “Barracuda” is a track.
Anyway, out of all of this rancor, “Barracuda” was spawned. It charted well internationally in 1977, rising to #11 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, #2 in Canada, #1 in South Africa, and #8 in Germany. It was in the Top 40 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands, New Zealand, and Sweden.
Is the song hard rock or a proto-heavy metal? Well, the critics seem to consider it heavy hard rock with its notable guitar riffs and use of natural harmonics.
On the Little Queen album are Ann Wilson (lead vocals, flute), Nancy Wilson (acoustic and electric guitars, autoharp, mandolin, piano, vocals), Roger Fisher (lead guitar, mandolin), Howard Leese (acoustic and electric guitars, synthesize, piano, Moog bass, mellotron, mandolins, vocals), Steve Fossen (bass guitar), and Michael (drums, chimes, tabla, percussion, timpani). The group formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1973 (there are earlier forms of the group starting in the late 1960s with the two Wilson sisters at the center) and has been recording and performing for many decades in a variety of styles. The lineup has changed over the years. The band is currently on hiatus, they say, and the sisters have been touring separately.