Today, a song out of Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound studio, written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King.
Goffin & King, an actual couple at the time, as opposed to just a song-writing pair, wrote this when they found out their babysitter – Little Eva, of “The Locomotion” fame – was being beaten by her boyfriend.
Carole King has subsequently revealed that she wished she’d never had anything to do with this record; when one of the writers disowns it, you know there’s some issues there.
That, and the almost blanket refusal to give it any air-time, hasn’t stopped others providing their own take on it though; self-styled “gangster Nancy Sinatra” Lana Del Rey quotes the title in her 2014 tune “Ultraviolence”, and you have to wonder whether she’s touching on the same themes, and then you have to wonder whether that’s altogether wise:
In 1995 Hole released a cover of “He Hit Me…” as the B-side to their single “Softer, Softest”. Of course, nobody mentioned it at the time because nobody ever listened to it. But then they did it again as part of their MTV Unplugged. We can safely write all that off as just Courtney Love, trying to be all controversial for controversial sake.
Others have referenced it in song, but here’s Spiritualized, trying, I think, to reclaim it, “a hit” meaning something altogether different here though: