Song of the Day: Paradise City by Guns N’ Roses

“Paradise City” is a song written by American hard rock band Guns N’ Roses.

Lyrics:

Take me down to the paradise city
Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
Take me home (oh won’t you please take me home)
Take me down to the paradise city
Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
Take me home (oh won’t you please take me home)

Just a urchin livin’ under the street
I’m a hard case that’s tough to beat
I’m your charity case so buy me something to eat
I’ll pay you at another time
Take it to the end of the line

Rags to riches or so they say
Ya gotta keep pushin’ for the fortune and fame
You know it’s all a gamble when it’s just a game
Ya treat it like a capital crime
Everybody’s doin’ the time

Take me down to the paradise city
Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
Oh won’t you please take me home
Take me down to the paradise city
Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
Take me home, yeah yeah

Strapped in the chair of the city’s gas chamber
Why I’m here I can’t quite remember
The surgeon general says it’s hazardous to breathe
I’d have another cigarette but I can’t see
Tell me who you’re gonna believe

Take me down to the paradise city
Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
Take me home, yeah yeah
Take me down to the paradise city
Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
Oh won’t you please take me home

So far away
So far away
So far away
So far away

Captain America’s been torn apart
Now he’s a court jester with a broken heart
He said “turn me around and take me back to the start”
I must be losing my mind “are you blind?”
I’ve seen it all a million times

Take me down to the paradise city
Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
Take me home, yeah yeah
Take me down to the paradise city
Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
Oh won’t you please take me home
Take me down to the paradise city
Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
Take me home, yeah yeah
Take me down to the paradise city
Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
Oh won’t you please take me home

I wanna go, I wanna go
Oh won’t you please take me home
I wanna see how good it can be
Oh won’t you please take me home
Take me down to the paradise city
Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
Take me home
Take me down to the paradise city
Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
Oh won’t you please take me home
Take me down, lead me ’round
Oh won’t you please take me home

I wanna see, what a woman can be
I want to take you home
Take me down to the paradise city
Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
Oh won’t you please take me home
I wanna go, I wanna know
Oh won’t you please take me home

……

It was released in 1987 on their debut studio album Appetite for Destruction and was released as a single in 1988. It is also the only song on the album to feature 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.” It is also 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, the band’s third single to reach the Top 10 in the U.S, and number six on the UK Singles Chart.

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.

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.”

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, #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.

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.

Guns N’ Roses 

Also known as G N’ R, GnR
Origin Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres Hard rock, heavy metal,blues rock
Years active 1985–present
Labels Geffen, UZI Suicide
Associated acts Hollywood Rose, L.A. Guns, Neurotic Outsiders, Praxis, Road Crew,Slash’s Snakepit, Velvet Revolver
Website gunsnroses.com
Members Axl Rose
Dizzy Reed
Tommy Stinson
Chris Pitman
Richard Fortus
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal
Frank Ferrer
DJ Ashba
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