Single Stories: Twisted Sister, “We’re Not Gonna Take It”
34 years ago today, Twisted Sister released the debut single from their third studio album, STAY HUNGRY, a track which proved to be the band’s only top-40 single but which also raised their profile to such a degree that they’re still considered one of the definitive heavy metal bands of the 1980s.
Written by Dee Snider and produced by Tom Werman, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” was – per Snider in his 2013 autobiography Shut Up and Give Me the Mic – heavily influenced by the band Slade, but he later conceded that there are elements of the Christmas classic “O Come All Ye Faithful” in the mix as well. As iconic and anthemic may be, however, there’s no question that it was the song’s video had a great deal with building up its profile.
Directed by Marty Callner, the “We’re Not Gonna Take It” video featured Mark Metcalf, best known for – and unabashedly playing off of – playing the role of Douglas C. Niedermeyer in National Lampoon’s Animal House. In the video, Metcalf’s character is chastising his son for having no interests beyond his guitar and Twisted sister. After receiving a lecture featuring the famous question, “What do you want to do with your life?” the son replies, “I wanna rock!” At this point, the boy suddenly turns into Dee Snider in full Twister Sister regalia and proceeds to – for lack of a better phrase – not take it.
“We’re Not Gonna Take It” was a top-10 hit in Australia (#6), Canada (#5), New Zealand (#2), and Sweden (#10), but in America it only found its way as high as #21. Still, as noted, it became Twisted Sister’s signature song, one which results in roars of applause whenever it’s played. Hard to complain about that.
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