Paradise City

Last updated

"Paradise City"
Artwork for U.S. and Australian vinyl editions
Single by Guns N' Roses
from the album Appetite for Destruction
ReleasedJanuary 1989 (US)
March 13, 1989 (UK)
Label Geffen
Songwriter(s) Guns N' Roses
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). It was released as a single in January 1989. It is also the only song on the album to feature a synthesizer. It is 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—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.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

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.

<i>Appetite for Destruction</i> music album by Guns N’ Roses

Appetite for Destruction is the debut studio album by American hard rock band Guns N' Roses. It was released on July 21, 1987, by Geffen Records.



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." 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]

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.

San Francisco Consolidated city-county in California, US

San Francisco, officially the City and County of San Francisco, is a city in, and the cultural, commercial, and financial center of, Northern California. San Francisco is the 13th-most populous city in the United States, and the fourth-most populous in California, with 883,305 residents as of 2018. It covers an area of about 46.89 square miles (121.4 km2), mostly at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it the second-most densely populated large US city, and the fifth-most densely populated U.S. county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. San Francisco is also part of the fifth-most populous primary statistical area in the United States, the San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area.

Duff McKagan American rock musician

Michael Andrew "Duff" McKagan, sometimes credited as Duff "Rose" McKagan, is an American multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and author. He is best known for his twelve-year tenure as the bassist of the hard rock band Guns N' Roses, with whom he achieved worldwide success in the late 1980s and early 1990s. McKagan rejoined the band in 2016, following their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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."

Hit Parader was an American music magazine that operated between 1942 and 2008. A monthly publication, it was a general popular music title until the 1980s, when its focus turned to the genres of hard rock and heavy metal. The magazine reached its peak during the 1980s as heavy metal music achieved high levels of popularity and commercial success.

Midwestern United States region that includes parts of Canada and the United States

The Midwestern United States, also referred to as the American Midwest, Middle West, or simply the Midwest, is one of four census regions of the United States Census Bureau. It occupies the northern central part of the United States. It was officially named the North Central Region by the Census Bureau until 1984. It is located between the Northeastern United States and the Western United States, with Canada to its north and the Southern United States to its south.

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.

Appetite for Destruction Tour concert tour

The Appetite for Destruction Tour, by American hard rock band Guns N' Roses, promoted their debut album Appetite for Destruction, released in July 1987. During its 16-month duration, the band opened for bands The Cult, Mötley Crüe, Alice Cooper, Iron Maiden and Aerosmith, and headlined shows across four continents.

Use Your Illusion Tour concert tour

The Use Your Illusion Tour was a concert tour by the rock band Guns N' Roses which ran from January 20, 1991 to July 17, 1993. It was not only the band's longest tour, but one of the longest concert tours in rock history, consisting of 194 shows in 27 countries. It was also a source of much infamy for the band, due to riots, late starts, cancellations and outspoken rantings by Axl Rose.

Chinese Democracy Tour worldwide concert tour by hard rock band Guns N Roses

The Chinese Democracy Tour was a worldwide concert tour by hard rock band Guns N' Roses to promote the group's long-delayed album Chinese Democracy.

Slash has stated that "Paradise City" is his favorite Guns N' Roses song. [2]

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.

Half-time (music) type of metric change in music, that doubles the tempo resolution or metric division, in comparison to common-time

In popular music, half-time is a type of meter and tempo that alters the rhythmic feel by essentially doubling the tempo resolution or metric division/level in comparison to common-time. Thus 4
approximates 8
. It is not to be confused with alla breve or odd time. Though notes usually get the same value relative to the tempo, the way the beats are divided is altered. While much music typically has a backbeat on quarter note (crotchet) beats two and four, half time would increase the interval between backbeats to double, thus making it hit on beats three and seven, or the third beat of each measure :

1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4

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]


The song ranked number 21 on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs of All Time. [4] It ranked number 459 on Rolling Stone's 2010 list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time." [5] Some publications have denoted the song as one of the band's worst songs, such as Ultimate Classic Rock and Spin . [5] 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" [6]


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).

Formats and track listing

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

US 7" vinyl ()
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)
1."Paradise City" (LP version) 
2."Used to Love Her" (LP version) 
UK 12" 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" 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)  




RegionCertification Certified units/Sales
Italy (FIMI) [26] Platinum50,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png
United Kingdom (BPI) [27] Platinum1,000,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png

Double-dagger-14-plain.pngsales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Cover versions and use in other media

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