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Template:About Template:Infobox single "Paradise City" is a song written by the rock band Guns N' Roses. It is included on the 1987 album Appetite for Destruction and was released as a single in 1988. It is also the only song on the album to use 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". The song peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100, the third single of the band's to go Top 10.


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". Matt Sorum, despite not being in the band when the song was written, has stated on occasion that the song is written about Ireland.Template:Issue

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.Cite error: The opening <ref> tag is malformed or has a bad name

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". It is also said to resemble the Black Sabbath song Zero the Hero from the Born Again album.

Formats and track listing[]

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  • Axl Rose - lead vocals, synthesizer, whistle
  • Izzy Stradlin - rhythm guitar, backing vocals, percussion
  • Slash - lead guitar, backing vocals
  • Duff McKagan - bass, backing vocals
  • Steven Adler - drums


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[]

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.

In the music video, about 4 minutes into the video, Axl Rose is seen sporting a World War II Nazi officer cap and a stage pass that appears to bear the SS eagle. Axl opens the pass, shows off the SS eagle, closes it again and gives a meaningful look to the camera. Most of the video was shot in black-and-white.

Cover versions[]

  • 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.
  • Michael and the G2s cover the song in their album Michael and the G2s Cover Everything.[2]

Live cover performances[]

  • In 1999, Hole performed "Paradise City" live at the Big Day Out in Australia. A recording of the cover was released on a "Limited Tour Edition" of their Celebrity Skin album.
  • Velvet Revolver have covered this song with Cypress Hill, partially transforming the song into a rap track.
  • American Idol winner and country singer Carrie Underwood performed "Paradise City", sometimes along with "November Rain", as an encore on her Carnival Ride tour.[3]
  • Cover band Camp Freddy performed the song along with the original guitarists, Slash and Duff McKagan, and Chester Bennington of Linkin Park.
  • Escape the Fate played a cover of this song during the 2007 Warped Tour.
  • Slash plays a cover of this song, and other famous Guns N' Roses songs, in his 2010-tour with Myles Kennedy on vocals.


N-Trance recorded a version of "Paradise City" (using the song's riff), on their 1999 album Happy Hour.[4]

Appearances in other media[]

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

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. Actually, 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 song is the theme tune for the racing game Burnout Paradise which is set in a fictional locale called "Paradise City". The song was slightly edited for the game to remove references of the gas chamber and smoking.

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".[5]

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

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

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


  1. 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; last accessed September 10, 2006.
  3. [1]
  4. [[[:Template:Allmusic]] Happy Hour], AMG, accessed June 12, 2007

External links[]

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ca:Paradise City cs:Paradise City de:Paradise City es:Paradise City fa:شهر بهشت fr:Paradise City it:Paradise City hu:Paradise City nl:Paradise City no:Paradise City pl:Paradise City pt:Paradise City fi:Paradise City sv:Paradise City