A Blast From the Past: Grand Funk Railroad’s Don’t Let Them Take Your Gun

Not all pro-gun rights bands fall into the Country and Western genre. Here’s a blast from the past; Grand Funk Railroad’s Don’t Let Them Take Your Gun. (Click here for the lyrics.) Born in Flint, Michigan, GFR never found much critical success. Luckily, sales were strong. This pro-gun song was released in 1976, America’s bicentennial year. The album in which it appeared — Good Singin’, Good Playin’ — was a commercial flop, accounting for the song’s obscurity. (Click here for the whole album.) And yes, that’s Frank Zappa on the left, who produced and played on a couple of tracks.

[h/t Lou]


  1. avatar FormerWaterWalker says:

    GFR pretty much gone by ’76. Zappa or not. I don’t think Zappa was really pro-gun-just pro-anarchy and mayhem. And it’s FLINT. My mother was from Flint,Michigan. (I was shocked when I heard they were using river water-it was a toxic waste dump when I saw it as far back as the 60’s).

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      D’oh! Text amended. Thanks!

    2. avatar Mr. 308 says:

      Zappa was not pro-anarchy we was anti establishment and very libertarian.

      I don’t know really how he stood in terms of gun rights, but he was about the best there is when it comes to first amendment rights. Plus you have to remember the time period, This was in a time when it was perceived that the Republicans and their rich elite friends ruled the world and the Democrats were the only party there was that stood for the rights of the little guy. A great lie that they have been riding ever since…

      “Communism doesn’t work because people like to own stuff” — FZ

      And the dude was one of the greatest musical geniuses ever. Really fascinating dude.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Zappa was amazing in many, many ways.

        Just did a quick Google on Zappa and guns, and found a reference to that very G.Funk album, check this out:

        ” Frank Zappa…..life time NRA member?

        Didn’t realize it. According to this interview with Mark Farner, Zappa was anti-gun until he produced an album for Grand Funk Railroad, which apparently contained a song called ‘Don’t let em take your guns’.”


        1. avatar Mr. 308 says:

          Well I didn’t know that either, but he hardly would have been a life time member if he was anti-gun until something something… etc.

          Anyway he clearly was a proponent of individual rights, namely the first, so it stands to reason he would approve of the RTKABA.

          You do know the backstory about why he had lifetime a dislike for law enforcement officers right?

          Yea, fascinating dude. If you have time this is an interesting look into FZ and Dweezil from a few years back:

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          As I recall from his Playboy interview years back, the cops busting him on a BS obscenity charge was the genesis of his Libertarian-ism…

        3. avatar Geoff PR says:

          Found it!:


          A *bunch* more Zappa interviews here:


          F.Z. – R.I.P.

        4. avatar RidgeRunner says:

          Great interview, thank you for posting, Geoff. I’ve hunted with Mark Farner, he’s a fine woodsman and actually helped me recover a buck I shot in Tennessee. I’d been looking for a couple hours, and went back to where I shot it from. Mark came by headed back to camp and we tried again, and he found where the deer zigged and I zagged, he’d only run about 40 yards. yep, Farner’s a fine woodsman, a great singer/songwriter/guitar player, a wonderful human being and a great American.

  2. avatar William says:

    Ohhh, people why don’t you come in here and let me talk to you a while.
    That’s right, step right up and listen to a concerned citizen speak his piece.

    I’ll tell you a little something that my daddy told to me.
    My basic fundamentals if you want to be free.
    ’cause son, there’s somthing wrong internally.
    So, if you want your freedom son.
    Don’t want your country to be overrun.
    You got to keep america number one.

    My daddy told me “son, don’t let ’em take your gun.
    That’s what they tryin’ to do.
    Son, don’t let ’em take your gun.
    They’re takin’ your bill of rights away from you.”
    My daddy said “son, don’t let ’em take your gun.
    That’s what they tryin’ to do.
    Son, don’t let ’em take your gun.
    Don’t let ’em take your gun away from you.”

    Ohhh, this year is our anniversary.
    Two hundred years, people we’ve been free.
    Won’t be nobody takin’ over our land.
    If everybody’s brother’s got a gun in his hand.
    I’m tellin’ you we learned to fight for justice.
    We’re willing to die for freedom.
    Hand in hand.
    You got to understand.
    We are american men.

    Said they want your gun.
    Said they want your gun.
    Send ’em on the run.
    Send ’em on the run.
    Hip-hurray for fun.
    Hip-hurray for fun.
    If they do we’re done.
    If they do we’re done.

  3. avatar 16V says:

    Meanwhile – Lynrd Skynrd were spreading drivel of Saturday Night Specials, and suggesting we should dump guns in the ocean.

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      Beat me to it, 16V.

      Ain’t good fer nuthin’, but put a man 6′ in a hole…

      1. avatar 16V says:

        Despite the one-off beauty of The Ballad of Curtis Loew, I could spend a dozen lifetimes never, ever hearing Freebird again, having still heard it a thousand times too many. Not to mention the inability to deal with access to drugs and money in That Smell.

  4. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    Grand Funk Railroad concert at Memorial Auditorium was the start of my hearing loss. After that I always took ear plugs to concerts, just in case.

  5. avatar doesky2 says:

    The Left destroys everything it touches….art, education, music, media, marriage, …… and it’s last and biggest target…America.

  6. My wife and I had the pleasure of seeing Mark Farner with a new band performing all his old GFR hits and then some last year in Riverside, CA. We had second-row seats, and Mark was an amazing performer, strutting, sprinting, even skipping around the stage like an amped-up teenager. What fun!

    Frank Zappa was a complex character. I live where he grew up (the Inland Empire), and there’s a lot of local lore about this musical genius, and genius he was. My dentist (!) is an amateur musician whose youthful band recorded in Zappa’s studio in Cucamonga, down on Archibald Avenue.

    We saw Dweezil’s Zappa Plays Zappa concert a few months ago, the original “One Size Fits All” In Its Entire-tee (to use the promo’s spelling). Utterly phenomenal musician himself, and he surrounded himself with supernaturally gifted musicians, such as the luminous Scheila Gonzalez.

    I could go on…

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Zappa gave some phenomenal new musicians some exposure thanks to the Mothers of Invention…

      1. avatar 16V says:

        He famously ripped on Lukather who went on to Toto fame on Joe’s Garage. More than once….



        Remember kids – Watch out where the huskies go, and don’t you eat that yellow snow…

  7. avatar Ralph says:

    After all, they’re an American band. They’re comin’ to your town. They’ll help you party down. They’re an American band.

  8. avatar Ing says:

    A blast from the present: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OGTvIeiYjg

    This one isn’t about guns per se, but check out the lyrics and the (probably apocryphal) Thomas Jefferson quote at the end. I’m pretty sure these young thrashers are on our side of things.

  9. avatar Raoul Duke says:

    Stuck Mojo, Southern metal band also pro-gun and pro-Constitution. They even have an open letter track calling out Rev. Jackson for the race hustler he is.

  10. avatar jimmy james says:

    Can’t mention GFR without mentioning Grand Funk Live Album…one of the top 10 live rock-n-roll albums of all time!

  11. avatar Craig says:

    No, that’s not Frank Zappa on the left in the album cover photo. Mel, Mark, Don, Craig, from left to right. And don’t let the critics tell you any different, this is a GREAT album Zappa plays on it, too.

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