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Paradise City

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"Paradise City"
Artwork for U.S. and Australian vinyl editions
Single by Guns N' Roses
from the album Appetite for Destruction
ReleasedJanuary 10, 1989
  • 6:48 (album version)
  • 5:20 (WLS-AM radio edit)
Producer(s)Mike Clink
Guns N' Roses singles chronology
"Sweet Child o' Mine"
"Paradise City"
Music video
Paradise City on YouTube

"Paradise City" is a song by the American rock band Guns N' Roses, featured on their debut album, Appetite for Destruction (1987). Released as a single in January 1989, it is the only song on the album to feature a synthesizer. The song peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100—becoming the band's third single to reach the Top 10—and number six on the UK Singles Chart. It also topped the Irish Singles Chart, their first of three singles to do so.


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 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." Rose sang the first line again, where Slash shouted out "Where the girls are fat and they've got big titties."[1] Rose 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.[2]

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."

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]

Musically, the song has been described as glam metal,[4][5][6][7] hard rock,[8][9] and heavy metal.[10]


The song ranked number 21 on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs of All Time.[10] It ranked number 459 on Rolling Stone's 2010 list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time."[citation needed] Some publications, such as Ultimate Classic Rock and Spin, have identified the song as one of the band's worst.[citation needed] The latter designating it as the most overrated in their catalogue, writing "'Paradise City' runs out of ideas halfway through its triumphant first refrain and yet still lasts for six more minutes."[11] In 2017, Paste ranked the song number 11 on their list of the 15 greatest Guns N' Roses songs,[12] and in 2020, Kerrang ranked the song number two on their list of the 20 greatest Guns N' Roses songs.[13] The video game Burnout Paradise is set in a fictional location, known as Paradise City, which is named after the song, and the song itself serves as the game's introductory and closing credits music.


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).

Track listings[edit]

All tracks are written by Guns N' Roses except where noted

US 7-inch vinyl
1."Paradise City" (LP version)  
2."Move to the City" (LP version)Guns N' Roses, Del James, Chris Weber 
UK 7-inch vinyl (GEF 50)
1."Paradise City" (LP version) 
2."Used to Love Her" (LP version) 
UK 12-inch vinyl (GEF 50T)
1."Paradise City" (LP version)  
2."Used to Love Her" (LP version)  
3."Anything Goes" (LP Version)Guns N' Roses, Weber 
UK 3-inch CD (GEF 50CD)
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)  




Region Certification Certified units/sales
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[36] Platinum 60,000
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[37] Platinum 90,000
Germany (BVMI)[38] Gold 250,000
Italy (FIMI)[39] Platinum 50,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[40] 2× Platinum 1,200,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
United States January 10, 1989
  • 7-inch vinyl
  • cassette
Geffen [citation needed]
United Kingdom March 6, 1989
  • 7-inch vinyl
  • 12-inch vinyl
  • CD

N-Trance version[edit]

"Paradise City"
Single by N-Trance
from the album Happy Hour
B-side"Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" (remix)
LabelAll Around the World
N-Trance singles chronology
"Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?"
"Paradise City"
"Tears in the Rain"
"Paradise City" on YouTube

British electronic music group N-Trance recorded a version of "Paradise City" (using the song's riff) for their 1998 album, Happy Hour.[42] It was released as the album's fourth single in 1998. In the United Kingdom, it was the group's first single to miss the top 20 since "Turn Up the Power" in 1994, peaking at number 28 in September 1998. It reached the top 40 in Australia and Sweden—the group's final single to do so in these regions—and peaked at number four in New Zealand, where it charted for nine weeks.

Track listing[edit]

US maxi-CD (RAD 99012-2)[43]
1."Paradise City" (radio edit)4:32
2."Paradise City" (Jerkwork remix)6:23
3."Paradise City" (extended version)6:34
4."Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" (Direct Hit dance remix)5:55


Chart (1998) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[44] 35
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[45] 90
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[46] 4
Scotland (OCC)[47] 21
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[48] 40
UK Singles (OCC)[49] 28
UK Indie (OCC)[50] 4

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Slash Talks Original NSFW Lyrics to 'Paradise City'". Fuse.
  2. ^ Bozza, Anthony; Slash (2007). Slash. New York: Harper Entertainment. pp. 131–132.
  3. ^ Popoff, Martin (2002). The Top 500 Heavy Metal Songs of All Time. Ecw Press. p. 135.
  4. ^ "Readers' Poll: The Best Hair Metal Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. June 20, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  5. ^ Sharma, Amit (April 5, 2018). "The Ultimate Hair Metal Party Playlist". Kerrang!. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  6. ^ "Tom Cruise to sing Guns N' Roses, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi on 'Rock Of Ages' soundtrack". NME. May 2, 2012. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  7. ^ "Watch Dave Grohl Join Guns N'Roses for a Surprise Performance of 'Paradise City'". SPIN. November 15, 2017. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  8. ^ Clarke, Donald; Cackett, Alan; Balmer, Paul (1998). The Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Penguin Books. p. 530. ISBN 978-0-14-051370-7.
  9. ^ Wake, Matt (April 8, 2021). "A piece of Guns N' Roses history sells for $80,000". AL.com. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  10. ^ a b "VH1 40 Greatest Metal Songs". VH1. May 4, 2006. Archived from the original on February 26, 2009.
  11. ^ "Every Guns N' Roses Song, Ranked". Spin. February 19, 2016. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  12. ^ Rolli, Bryan (September 27, 2017). "The 15 Best Guns N' Roses Songs". Paste. Retrieved April 27, 2022.
  13. ^ Law, Sam (October 8, 2020). "The 20 greatest Guns N' Roses songs – ranked". Kerrang. Retrieved April 27, 2022.
  14. ^ "Guns N' Roses – Paradise City". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  15. ^ "Guns N' Roses – Paradise City" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  16. ^ "RPM 100 Singles" (PDF). RPM. Vol. 49, no. 23. April 3, 1989. p. 6. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  17. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 6, no. 14. April 8, 1989. p. 21. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  18. ^ Pennanen, Timo. Sisältää hitin: levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972. Otava Publishing Company Ltd, 2003. ISBN 951-1-21053-X
  19. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Guns N' Roses". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  20. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 18, 1989" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  21. ^ "Guns N' Roses – Paradise City" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  22. ^ "Guns N' Roses – Paradise City". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  23. ^ "Guns N' Roses – Paradise City". VG-lista. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  24. ^ "Guns N' Roses – Paradise City". Singles Top 100. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  25. ^ "Guns N' Roses – Paradise City". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  26. ^ "Guns N' Roses: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  27. ^ "Guns N' Roses Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  28. ^ "Guns N' Roses Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  29. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved March 2, 2023.
  30. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1989" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  31. ^ "Top 100–Jaaroverzicht van 1989". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  32. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1989" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  33. ^ "End of Year Charts 1989". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  34. ^ "Year End Singles". Record Mirror. January 27, 1990. p. 44.
  35. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1989". Billboardtop100of.com. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  36. ^ "Brazilian single certifications – Guns N' Roses – Paradise City" (in Portuguese). Pro-Música Brasil. Retrieved July 3, 2024.
  37. ^ "Danish single certifications – Guns N' Roses – Paradise City". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  38. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Guns N' Roses; 'Paradise City')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved May 24, 2023.
  39. ^ "Italian single certifications – Guns N' Roses – Paradise City" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved July 24, 2017. Select "2017" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Paradise City" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  40. ^ "British single certifications – Guns N' Roses – Paradise City". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved June 16, 2023.
  41. ^ "New Singles". Music Week. March 4, 1989. p. 35.
  42. ^ "N-Trance – Happy Hour Overview". AllMusic. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  43. ^ "N-Trance – Paradise City [Single] Overview". AllMusic. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  44. ^ "N-Trance – Paradise City". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  45. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 15, no. 38. September 19, 1998. p. 11. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  46. ^ "N-Trance – Paradise City". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  47. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  48. ^ "N-Trance – Paradise City". Singles Top 100. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  49. ^ "N-Trance: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  50. ^ "Official Independent Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 24, 2020.