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Won't Back Down (Eminem song)

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"Won't Back Down"
Song by Eminem featuring P!nk
from the album Recovery
ReleasedJune 18, 2010
  • Marshall Mathers
  • Khalil Abdul-Rahman
  • Erik Alcock
  • Columbus Smith
Producer(s)DJ Khalil

"Won't Back Down" is a song by American hip hop artist Eminem, featuring American pop singer Pink, recorded as the fourth track on his seventh studio album Recovery (2010). It features production from Aftermath Entertainment producer DJ Khalil, who helped write the song along with Eminem, Erik Alcock, and Columbus "Rahki" Smith.

Upon the release of Recovery, the song received generally positive reviews from music critics, who praised its aggressive nature and production. Although not released as a single, "Won't Back Down" appeared on four national charts. It was used in the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops and its trailer as well as the trailers for the films Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Hitman: Agent 47. It was performed on Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Background and composition[edit]

"Won't Back Down" was written by Eminem, DJ Khalil, Erik Alcock and Columbus "Rahki" Smith. Along with most of the songs from Recovery, "Won't Back Down" was recorded at 54 Sound and Effigy Studios in Ferndale, Michigan, with recording carried out by Mike Strange.[1] The song is one of the few Eminem songs not in a 4:4 time signature, along with Untitled (also from Recovery) and Underground (from Relapse). Originally, the song was set to be a solo record, with Eminem singing the chorus himself.[2] Later, Liz Rodriguez, who is also featured on Recovery's "25 to Life" and "Almost Famous", recorded the song's chorus.[3] Eminem however, explained in an interview that after recording his vocals for the song, he decided to include Pink on the song as he "felt like she would really smash this record."[2] Rahki co-produced the song with Khalil.[3]


Although "Won't Back Down" was not released as a single, it charted on four national charts worldwide due to digital sales on the release of Recovery. The song reached its highest position on the US Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at number 62 on the chart for the week ending of July 10, 2010, although it fell off the chart the following week.[4] The song also charted in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, peaking at number eighty-seven, sixty-five and eighty-two on their respective national charts, although on all three the song again only appeared for one week.[5][6][7]

Upon its release, "Won't Back Down" received generally positive reviews from most music critics. David Jeffries of Allmusic wrote positively of the song, describing the song as a "lurching heavy metal monster" that "could be used as the lead-in to 'Lose Yourself' on any ego-boosting mixtape", but wrote more critically of the lyrics, denouncing the pop culture jokes featured throughout the song, particularly ones aimed at Michael J. Fox, calling the line "Make like Michael J. Fox in your drawers, playin' with an Etch-A-Sketch" "less effective" than other jokes aimed at him.[8] Steve Jones of USA Today described it as "rock-tinged" and stated that Pink's appearance provides "outside star power".[9]

Appearances in media[edit]

A remixed version of the ESPN trailer of the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops featuring "Won't Back Down" was released on June 14,[10] prior to the E3 Activision conference for which he also performed.[11] The song was also featured in the game's credits and zombie mode map "Five" as an easter egg.[12] The official trailer for the 2011 action film, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, features "Won't Back Down".[13] The song is also featured in TV spots for the 2015 movie Hitman: Agent 47.

Eminem has performed the song on live sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live accompanied by Lil Wayne and hypeman and D12 member Mr. Porter.[14] Eminem wore a black jacket and a skull cap.[14] Idolator reacted positively to Eminem's performance, stating that he proved "once again what a dynamic and energetic live performer he is on this exceptionally angry tune (even by Slim Shady standards)."[15] He also performed the song on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.[16]

Credits and personnel[edit]

  • Eminem – vocals, audio mixing and songwriting
  • DJ Khalil – producer, additional keyboards and drum programming
  • Mike Strange – recording and audio mixing
  • Joe Strange – engineering assistant
  • Eric Alcock – guitar
  • Pink – vocals
  • Rahki – keyboards and additional drum programming
  • Credits and recording information from Recovery's booklet.[1]


Chart (2010) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[5] 87
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[6] 65
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[7] 82
US Billboard Hot 100[4] 62


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[17] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b c Recovery (CD liner). Eminem. United States: Interscope Records. 2010. 2739452.CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ a b "Eminem Talks Rihanna, Pink, and Lil Wayne Collaborations". Rap-Up. Devin Lazerine. June 1, 2010. Retrieved August 27, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "DJ Khalil Exclusive Interview". Hit Talk. ModernBeats. April 11, 2011. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Billboard Hot 100: Week of July 10, 2010 (Biggest Jump)". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved July 7, 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Chartifacts – Week Commencing: 28th June 2010". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on June 30, 2010. Retrieved July 7, 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Canadian Hot 100: Week of July 10, 2010 (Biggest Jump)". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved July 7, 2011.
  7. ^ a b "Chart Log UK: E-40 – E-Z Rollers". Retrieved July 7, 2011.
  8. ^ Jeffries, David. "Recovery – Eminem". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
  9. ^ Jones, Steve (June 21, 2010). "Eminem's 'Recovery' is an addictive hip-hop comeback". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
  10. ^ Activision (June 14, 2010). "Call of Duty: Black Ops Remix – Eminem "Won't Back Down"". YouTube. Retrieved June 20, 2010.
  11. ^ Mike Fahey (June 16, 2010). "Activision's Night Of Far Too Many Stars". Game Stooge. Retrieved June 20, 2010.
  12. ^ Treyarch (November 9, 2010). Call of Duty: Black Ops. Microsoft Windows. Activision.
  13. ^ "Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – Trailer #1". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
  14. ^ a b Crosley, Hillary (December 19, 2010). "Eminem and Lil Wayne Rock 'SNL': Fans Hope For Duet LP". MTV News. Viacom International. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
  15. ^ "Eminem And Lil Wayne Dominate 'SNL'". Idolator. Buzz Media. December 19, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
  16. ^ Verse (June 26, 2010). "Eminem x The Roots Perform "Won't Back Down" On Late Night With Jimmy Fallon". Soul Culture. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
  17. ^ "American single certifications – Eminem – Won't Back Down". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 2, 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]