Paradise City

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This article is about the song. For other uses, see Paradise City (disambiguation).
"Paradise City"
Single by Guns N' Roses
from the album Appetite for Destruction
A-side "Paradise City" (LP Version)
B-side "Move to the City" (LP Version) (US)
"Used to Love Her" (LP Version) (UK)
Released November 30, 1988 (US)
March 1989 (UK)
Format 7" vinyl, 10" vinyl, 12" vinyl, cassette, CD
Recorded 1987
Genre Glam metal, hard rock
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Axl Rose, Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan, Steven Adler
Producer(s) Mike Clink
Guns N' Roses singles chronology
"Sweet Child o' Mine"
(1988)
"Paradise City"
(1988)
"Patience"
(1989)
Appetite for Destruction track listing
"Mr. Brownstone"
(5)
"Paradise City"
(6)
"My Michelle"
(7)

"Paradise City" is a song written by American hard rock/heavy metal band Guns N' Roses. It was released in 1987 on their debut studio album Appetite for Destruction and was released as a single in 1988. It is also the only song on the album to feature a synthesizer. It is most known for its iconic lyrics, "Take me down to the Paradise City, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty." It is also frequently played at sports stadiums during games along with "Welcome to the Jungle", also from Appetite for Destruction. The song peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100, the band's third single to reach the Top 10 in the U.S, and number six on the UK Singles Chart.

Song[edit]

Guns N' Roses' lead guitarist, Slash, states that the song was written in the back of a rental van as they were on their way back from playing a gig in San Francisco with the band Rock N Riders. He says that the band was in the back of the van, drinking and playing acoustic guitars, when he came up with the intro. Duff McKagan and Izzy Stradlin started playing along. Slash started humming a melody when Axl Rose sang, "Take me down to the Paradise City." Slash chimed in with "Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty." Axl sang the first line again, where Slash shouted out "Where the girls are fat and they've got big titties." Axl finished with "Take ... me ... home!" Slash preferred his second line but the rest of the band felt differently. He was outvoted and they used the first line. The band then expanded upon the rest of the lyrics in rounds. Finally Slash wrapped up by coming up with the heavy riff that drives the song.[1]

During a 1988 interview, Rose told "Hit Parader" magazine that "the verses are more about being in the jungle; the chorus is like being back in the Midwest or somewhere."

This song was often used as the band's show-closing song during the Appetite for Destruction Tour, Use Your Illusion Tour and Chinese Democracy Tour.

It was also ranked #21 on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs of All Time,[2] #3 in "Total Guitar" magazine's list of the 100 greatest solos of all time, and has won various similar awards over the years. It ranked #453 on Rolling Stones's "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time."

Slash has stated that this is his favorite Guns N' Roses song.[1]

In the last two minutes of the song, it changes to double-time and the chorus is repeated several times while Slash plays a guitar solo in the background.

Guitarist Andy McCoy has said that the song is copied from several riffs written by his band, Hanoi Rocks. He has said that the chorus is just a slower version of the riff in "Lost in the City". Axl Rose has often cited Hanoi Rocks as Guns N' Roses' biggest influence. Hanoi Rocks' original rhythm guitarist Nasty Suicide can also be seen in the music video for "Paradise City." The style of the main riff of "Paradise City" (involving an ascending chromatic riff) has also been used by many former Guns N' Roses members in new projects. This can be seen in Izzy Stradlin's "Bomb" and Velvet Revolver's "Do It for the Kids". According to Tracii Guns of L.A. Guns and former member of Guns N' Roses, the riff was influenced by the Black Sabbath song "Zero the Hero" from the Born Again album.[3]

Formats and track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Guns N' Roses except where noted. 

US 7" vinyl ()
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Paradise City" (LP Version)    
2. "Move To The City" (LP Version) Guns N' Roses, Del James, Chris Weber  
UK 7" vinyl (GEF 50), 7" vinyl picture disc (GEF 50P), 7" vinyl holster pack (GEF 50X)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Paradise City" (LP Version)    
2. "Used To Love Her" (LP Version)    
UK 12" vinyl (GEF 50T)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Paradise City" (LP Version)    
2. "Used To Love Her" (LP Version)    
3. "Anything Goes" (LP Version) Guns N' Roses, Weber  
UK 3" CD (GEF 50CD)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Paradise City" (LP Version)    
2. "Used To Love Her" (LP Version)    
3. "Anything Goes" (LP Version) Guns N' Roses, Weber  
4. "Sweet Child O' Mine" (LP Version)    

Personnel[edit]

Live[edit]

During live Guns N' Roses shows, "Paradise City" is usually performed last, as an encore. This has been a tradition since at least 1988, up to their latest tour. They also performed the song live at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert in 1992 (this time it was the first song of their short set).

Music video[edit]

Half of the music video was filmed at Giants Stadium in New Jersey while Guns N' Roses were on tour with Aerosmith, one of their major influences. Midway through the video, they are seen boarding the Concorde jet so they can make an appearance in England at the Monsters of Rock concert at Donington Park and return as quickly as possible to the USA to continue touring. They thought the footage taken at the concert would be good for the music video and a proper show of respect to several people who had died while Guns N' Roses were performing. Duff can also be seen wearing an Aerosmith "wings logo" t-shirt in the video, notably seen at 5:19.

Nigel Dick directed the video. At that time it was the biggest video he'd ever done. The video cost $200,000. $45,000 had to be paid to the unions at Giants Stadium for carrying 100 camera cases 30 yards from a parking lot to the stadium. The video was shot with six cameras in front of 77,000 people.

Cover versions[edit]

  • Rock n' roll era singer Pat Boone included the song on his 1997 heavy metal covers album In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy.
  • Warrior Soul covered the song in a more psychedelic and metal style for the 1999 GNR-tribute album, Appetite For Reconstruction.
  • Post-hardcore band Eighteen Visions made a cover of the song which appeared on the 2004 Guns N' Roses tribute compilation Bring You To Your Knees: A Tribute to Guns N' Roses. The key of the song is dropped a step lower, and played on guitars tuned to D. The low D open chord can be heard on the bridge following the solo. Also, the fast punk ending of the GNR version is replaced with a slow, almost sludge-like turn on the original riff.
  • A chill out cover of the song by Scubba was included on the 2006 tribute compilation Bossa n' Roses.
  • In 2009, Slash's single "Sahara" has a version of "Paradise City" as a bonus track featuring Cypress Hill and Fergie.
  • In 2011, Reece Mastin, X Factor Australia winner, covered this song for his album Reece Mastin (album).
  • Tom Cruise covered the song in the beginning of the 2012 musical film Rock of Ages. This cover also appears in the film's end credits and soundtrack.

Live cover performances[edit]

Sampling[edit]

  • N-Trance recorded a version of "Paradise City" (using the song's riff), on their 1999 album Happy Hour.[5]
  • Baltimore-based rapper e-dubble recorded a song of the same name as part of his Freestyle Friday series, and for his mix-tape Written Thursday, that sampled heavily from the original.

Appearances in other media[edit]

A character in Can't Hardly Wait performs the song.

The song is used in a episode of Miami Vice called " Leap of Faith".

In Beavis and Butt-head, Beavis sings the riff of this song while watching "F Sharp" by Nudeswirl, and the song had appeared in an earlier episode. In the earlier seasons, Beavis and Butt-head would often sing the riff whenever good fortune descended upon them (such as not having to go to school).

The Degrassi:The Next Generation four-part episode is titled "Paradise City".

Rolling Stone ranked the song 453rd on their list "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".[6]

The song is prominently used on the soundtrack of the 2008 racing video game Burnout Paradise, in which "Paradise City" serves as the licensed theme song. Notably, Paradise takes place in a fictional city aptly-named, Paradise City.

The song has been used in a recent Anchor butter advert in the UK.

The song was used in a promo for the 2010 action film The Expendables.

The song was ranked twenty-first in Vh1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs.

Tom Cruise performs the song in the 2012 film Rock of Ages.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York. pp. 131–132
  2. ^ "VH1 40 Greatest Metal Songs," 1–4 May 2006, VH1 Channel, reported by VH1.com; last accessed September 10, 2006.
  3. ^ Martin Popoff, The Top 500 Heavy Metal Songs of All Time, Ecw Press, 2002, p.135
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Happy Hour, AMG, accessed June 12, 2007
  6. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/news/coverstory/500songs/page/5

External links[edit]