November Rain

Last updated

"November Rain"
Novemberrain.jpg
Single by Guns N' Roses
from the album Use Your Illusion I
B-side "Sweet Child o' Mine" (LP version)
ReleasedFebruary 18, 1992
Format
Recorded1990–1991 at A&M Studios, Record Plant Studios, Studio 56, Image Recording, Conway Studios, Northstar Recordings (Portland, OR)(violins), Metalworks Recording Studios, Skip Saylor Recording (album mixing)
Genre Hard rock [1]
Length8:57
Label Geffen
Songwriter(s) Axl Rose
Producer(s)
Guns N' Roses singles chronology
"Knockin' on Heaven's Door"
(1992)
"November Rain"
(1992)
"Yesterdays"
(1992)
Audio sample
"November Rain"
Music video
"November Rain" on YouTube

"November Rain" is a power ballad by the American hard rock band Guns N' Roses. Written by the band's lead singer Axl Rose, the song was released as a single in 1992 from their third studio album, Use Your Illusion I (1991). It features a sweeping orchestral backing and is one of Guns N' Roses' longest songs.

Hard rock is a loosely defined subgenre of rock music that began in the mid-1960s, with the garage, psychedelic and blues rock movements. It is typified by a heavy use of aggressive vocals, distorted electric guitars, bass guitar, drums, and often accompanied with keyboards.

Guns N Roses American hard rock band formed in 1985

Guns N' Roses, often abbreviated as GNR, is an American hard rock band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 1985. When they signed to Geffen Records in 1986, the band comprised vocalist Axl Rose, lead guitarist Slash, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Steven Adler. The current lineup consists of Rose, Slash, McKagan, keyboardist Dizzy Reed, guitarist Richard Fortus, drummer Frank Ferrer and keyboardist Melissa Reese.

Axl Rose American singer-songwriter and musician

W. Axl Rose is an American singer, songwriter, record producer and musician. He is the lead vocalist of the hard rock band Guns N' Roses, and has also been the band's sole constant member since its inception in 1985. In addition to Guns N' Roses, he also toured with Australian rock band AC/DC in 2016 during their Rock or Bust World Tour when Brian Johnson took a break due to hearing problems. Rose has been named one of the greatest singers of all time by various media outlets, including Rolling Stone and NME.

Contents

"November Rain" peaked at number three on the United States Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it the longest song in history to enter the top ten of that chart. It is also the third longest song to enter the Hot 100 chart (second longest at the time of its release). [2] The song reached number one on the Polish LP3 Chart, number four on the UK Singles Chart, number five on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart and the top 10 on several other music charts around the world. Since its release, the song has sold over a million copies worldwide.

The Billboard Hot 100 is the music industry standard record chart in the United States for songs, published weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on sales, radio play, and online streaming in the United States.

Lista Przebojów Programu Trzeciego

Lista Przebojów Programu Trzeciego is the oldest and the longest-running music chart in Poland. Aired by Polskie Radio Program III, a division of the Polskie Radio public broadcaster, the list has been broadcast weekly since 24 April 1982. Initially hosted by Marek Niedźwiecki, since 2010 the hosting duties have been alternated by Niedźwiecki and Piotr Baron.

UK Singles Chart British singles sales chart

The UK Singles Chart is compiled by the Official Charts Company (OCC), on behalf of the British record industry, listing the top-selling singles in the United Kingdom, based upon physical sales, paid-for downloads and streaming. The Official Chart, broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and MTV, is the UK music industry's recognised official measure of singles and albums popularity because it is the most comprehensive research panel of its kind, today surveying over 15,000 retailers and digital services daily, capturing 99.9% of all singles consumed in Britain across the week, and over 98% of albums. To be eligible for the chart, a single is currently defined by the Official Charts Company (OCC) as either a 'single bundle' having no more than four tracks and not lasting longer than 25 minutes or one digital audio track not longer than 15 minutes with a minimum sale price of 40 pence. The rules have changed many times as technology has developed, the most notable being the inclusion of digital downloads in 2005 and streaming in July 2014.

History

According to Tracii Guns, former L.A. Guns guitarist and founding member, Axl Rose had been working on the song since at least 1983. In an interview, he said the following about "November Rain":

Tracii Guns American musician

Tracy Richard Irving Ulrich, known professionally as Tracii Guns, is an American musician best known as the founder of glam metal group L.A. Guns, as well as the supergroups Brides of Destruction and Contraband. He was also a founding member of Guns N' Roses, but left shortly afterwards and was replaced by guitarist Slash.

L.A. Guns band

L.A. Guns are an American hard rock band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 1983. The band currently consists of Tracii Guns, Phil Lewis, Ace Von Johnson on, Johnny Martin and Scot Coogan (drums). The first incarnation of the group was formed by Tracii Guns and Rob Gardner in 1983 and merged with fellow Los Angeles group the defunct Hollywood Rose to form Guns N' Roses in March 1985. Later that year, the group was reformed by Guns and singer Paul Black, who added new members Mick Cripps, Robert Stoddard, and Nickey Alexander. Black would soon be replaced by former Girl singer Phil Lewis while former Faster Pussycat bassist Kelly Nickels was added to the group. Later, Alexander would be replaced by former W.A.S.P. drummer Steve Riley with this being known as the "classic lineup" of L.A. Guns. They achieved moderate chart success in the late 1980s and early 1990s. However, the group went through numerous lineup changes and failed to regain mainstream attention.

When we were doing that EP for L.A. Guns, like '83? He was playing "November Rain" — and it was called "November Rain" — you know, on piano. The guitar solo is amazing. Way back then. It was the only thing he knew how to play, but it was his. He'd go, "Someday this song is gonna be really cool." And I'd go, "It's cool now." "But it's not done", you know, he used to say. And, like, anytime we'd be at a hotel or anywhere, there'd be a piano; he'd just kinda play that music. And I'd go, "When are you gonna finish that already", you know? And he'd go, "I don't know what to do with it." [3]

In 1988, Waggle Records (Pty.) Ltd. released in Australia a two-LP set titled November Rain/In Concert and Beyond of an unidentified concert featuring a rough, acoustic version of the song. [4] This early version of the song features finger-picked acoustic guitar, Rose on lead vocals, and a chorus of vocals in the background, as in the Use Your Illusion I album version, but does not feature the extended guitar solos or the breakdown outro. The live version runs approximately for 4:43 minutes.[ citation needed ]

Slash states in his autobiography that an 18-minute version of "November Rain" was recorded at a session with guitarist Manny Charlton (of rock band Nazareth) in 1986, before the recording sessions for Appetite for Destruction began. [5] :151

Slash (musician) British-American musician and songwriter

Saul Hudson, better known by his stage name Slash, is a British–American musician and songwriter. He is the lead guitarist of the American hard rock band Guns N' Roses, with whom he achieved worldwide success in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Slash has received critical acclaim and is considered one of the greatest guitarists in rock history.

Manny Charlton British musician

Manuel "Manny" Charlton is a founding member of the Scottish hard rock band Nazareth and was their lead guitarist from 1968 to 1990.

Nazareth (band) Scottish hard rock band

Nazareth are a Scottish hard rock band formed in 1968, that had several hits in the United Kingdom, as well as in several other West European countries in the early 1970s, and established an international audience with their 1975 album Hair of the Dog, which featured their hits "Hair of the Dog" and a cover of the ballad "Love Hurts". The band continues to record and tour.

According to a story he told an audience during the 2006 leg of the Chinese Democracy Tour, none of the other band members had wanted to partake in the production of this song (or the other notable ballad "Estranged"). Slash and McKagan were particularly opposed to the drift to symphonic ballads, and felt their choice of more direct rock songs were being overlooked by Rose. However, Rose talked them into it over discussions at Can-Am Studios (where some of the album was recorded and mixed). Claims of such harsh musical differences were specifically disputed by Slash in his autobiography. [5] :454

Slash has said that the solo he played in the album version of the song (it is unclear which) was the same solo he improvised upon hearing it for the first time. [5] :316 [6]

Song information

At 8:57 minutes long, it is the second-longest song on the album, the longest being the 10:14 "Coma". It is the third-longest song by Guns N' Roses, behind the 9:24 "Estranged" from Use Your Illusion II . "We call it 'the Layla song'," joked Slash. [7]

Its distinct symphonic overtone owes to a sweeping string arrangement, orchestrated by Rose. [5] :318 [8] Most live performances during the Use Your Illusion tour lacked the orchestral backing of the song (the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards being the best-known exception).

It is the longest song ever to reach the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. [9] [10]

"November Rain" was voted number one on the Rock 1000 2006, an annual countdown of the top 1,000 rock songs by New Zealand radio listeners. It was voted number two on the 2007 version, beaten to second place by "Back in Black" by AC/DC. [11] The song topped the "album tracks" section of a 1993 readers' poll in GN'R fanzine Controversy, beating "Coma". The top ten was completed by "Estranged", "Civil War", "Paradise City", "Sweet Child o' Mine", "Don't Cry", "Welcome to the Jungle", "Patience" and "Mr. Brownstone". [12]

The song was placed at number 140 on Pitchfork's "Top 200 Tracks of the 90s". [13] In Chile, the song was placed at number 73 on Chilean radio Rock & Pop. [14]

The song is written in key of B major and B minor.

Chart performance

Although "November Rain" peaked at number nine in Germany, it remained on the chart for 51 weeks. [15]

In Australia, "November Rain" stayed in the top 10 for 22 weeks, the longest of any non-chart-topper in history,[ citation needed ] and reached number two on the end-of-year chart despite only reaching number 5. [16] It was featured on the year-end charts in two consecutive years (1992 and 1993, where it appeared at 36). [17] [18] A similar situation took place in New Zealand, where the song peaked at number 7 but stayed in the top 20 for 24 non-consecutive weeks, ending 1992 as New Zealand's second best-selling single. [19] [20]

Music video

Composite image of the wedding dress from the "November Rain" music video worn by Stephanie Seymour. November-rain-dress.jpg
Composite image of the wedding dress from the "November Rain" music video worn by Stephanie Seymour.

The music video, directed by Andy Morahan, [21] portrays Rose marrying his then-girlfriend Stephanie Seymour, intercut with a live performance in a theater. Particularly, it can be noted for its large budget (about $1 million, including Seymour's dress) and cinematography by Mike Southon, which won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Cinematography. It is one of the most expensive music videos ever. [22] Slash is prominently featured, including a sequence of helicopter shots swooping around him as he plays the first guitar solo and a later scene where he plays the third solo while standing on Rose's piano onstage. Casting coordinator Mark Roberton observed; "the camera-man had a lot of responsibility, as the crane-cam was so close to Slash, precariously stood atop a piano that was near the stage edge. One wrong twitch and the guitarist would've had a long drop!" The video for "November Rain" uses the full version of the song as opposed to an abridged version. The Orpheum Theater, a theater in downtown Los Angeles, was acquired for an evening shoot that went several hours into the night.

For the outside shots of Slash while he is playing the first solo, Rose had originally envisioned it taking place in a "cool field" of sorts. However, since the video was shot in winter, there were no good-looking fields around, and eventually the band decided to use a church in New Mexico. Coincidentally, this was the same church used in the movie Silverado . [23]

Brad Hartmaier was the production designer for the New Mexico sequences at the Silverado Movie Ranch. Working from sketches he made while sitting in the hotel bar, Hartmaier managed to build and dress two church sets with the help of local crews. The exterior church set consisted of a dilapidated old building that was trucked out to the middle of a large prairie and turned into the prominent church in the video. Multiple crews worked for 24 hours straight building the main church and a duplicate interior church set complete with fly away walls, hand-made cathedral windows and decorations befitting the southwestern region where it was shot. Hartmaier was in the church with a walkie-talkie with Slash as a helicopter circled above for the big shot. Slash asked him what he did and he replied, "I'm the production designer, slash art director slash prop man, slash painter, slash mad scientist." Slash quickly replied with a chuckle...'Ha ha, I'm just Slash.'" Hartmaier later said of working on the video, "It was the best experience of my life."

Nigel Phelps was the original production designer; Hartmaier was the art director for the Los Angeles video segments, then later became the production designer for the New Mexico segments after Phelps moved onto a feature film during the later part of the making of the video.

The priest in the video, an Italian man named Gianantonio, was a friend of Rose. Unbeknownst to the band, the church used for the interior shots was where the priest had performed some of his last services, eight years prior to the shooting of the video.

The music videos for "November Rain", "Don't Cry" and "Estranged" form an unofficial trilogy of sorts. While never specifically confirmed by the band, Rose and Del James (whose short story "Without You" served as inspiration for the video, for which he was credited at the end) have made statements supporting this idea. [24] [25] The similarity in production, style and plots can be considered evidence of this intent.

In July 2018, it became the first video made before YouTube's founding to surpass one billion views [26] , and as of March 2019 has received over 1.1 billion views.

Live performances

Axl Rose performing "November Rain" at Nottingham Arena, Nottingham, UK, in May 2012. Axl Rose Nottingham 2012.JPG
Axl Rose performing "November Rain" at Nottingham Arena, Nottingham, UK, in May 2012.

Before release of Use Your Illusion I , the song was first played live at Deer Creek Music Center on May 29, 1991. "November Rain" has been a staple at Guns N' Roses concerts ever since it was released in 1991. The song is usually preceded by Rose, sometimes playing "It's Alright" by Black Sabbath or "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" by Elton John on piano. On the Chinese Democracy Tour, each of the guitar solos is played by a different guitarist. Robin Finck (2001-2002) or Richard Fortus (2002–2014) plays the first one, Finck (2001–2007) or DJ Ashba (2009–2014) plays the second one, and Buckethead (2001–2002) or Bumblefoot (2006–2014) plays the final solo. Since 2001, Rose oversings the two last outro verses.

The band performed a nearly nine-minute live version of the song with British musician Elton John on piano at the end of the 1992 VMAs ceremony. [27]

In Houston, on August 8, 2016, Rose's piano went badly out of tune. He noticed it during the first verse, but ultimately stopped at the beginning of the second verse. After laughing off the incident, he finished the song with a broken piano.

Track listings

CD maxi
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."November Rain" (LP version) Axl Rose 8:57
2."Sweet Child o' Mine" (LP version)Rose, Izzy Stradlin, Slash, Duff McKagan, Steven Adler 5:55
3."Patience" (LP version)Stradlin5:53
Cassingle
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."November Rain" (LP version)Rose8:57
2."Sweet Child o' Mine" (LP version)Rose, Stradlin, Slash, McKagan, Adler5:55
7" maxi
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."November Rain" (LP version)Rose8:57
2."Sweet Child o' Mine" (LP version)Rose, Stradlin, Slash, McKagan, Adler5:55
12" maxi
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."November Rain" (LP version)Rose8:57
2."Sweet Child o' Mine" (LP version)Rose, Stradlin, Slash, McKagan, Adler5:55
3."Patience" (LP version)Stradlin5:53

Personnel

Guns N' Roses

Additional musicians

Charts

Certifications

RegionCertification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA) [51] 2× Platinum140,000^
Germany (BVMI) [52] Gold250,000^
Italy (FIMI) [53] Platinum50,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png
Netherlands (NVPI) [54] Gold50,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ) [55] Platinum10,000*
United Kingdom (BPI) [56] Gold400,000^
United States (RIAA) [57] Gold500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
Double-dagger-14-plain.pngsales+streaming figures based on certification alone

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  53. "Italian single certifications – Guns N' Roses – November Rain" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana . Retrieved April 26, 2017. Select "2017" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "November Rain" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
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  56. "British single certifications – Guns N' Roses – November Rain". British Phonographic Industry . Retrieved March 9, 2018.Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type November Rain in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  57. "American single certifications – Guns N' Roses – November Rain". Recording Industry Association of America . Retrieved December 31, 2015.If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.