Guns N' Roses

Paradise City

Composed by Guns N' Roses

Song Review by

A nearly seven-minute-long rocker, "Paradise City" became the third straight Top Ten single from Guns N' Roses' debut album, Appetite for Destruction, at the beginning of 1989. While the late '80s were a golden age for hard rock and heavy metal on the pop charts, the success of "Paradise City" is still a testament to how hugely popular Guns N' Roses were; its uncommercial length (even in an edited version), the rawness of its production and performance, and the simple fact that it wasn't a sentimental power ballad all would have conspired against any other band. But at this point in time, Guns N' Roses were unstoppable. In spite of its length, "Paradise City" didn't feel meandering or excessive, which speaks to the band's compositional tightness and their strengths as an instrumental unit. In particular, Slash shines as a soloist, getting several short features over the course of the tune. There were two main sections: an anthemic chorus -- built on a clean-toned arpeggio figure and a single-note solo melody -- and a fast, grinding verse riff over which Axl Rose spat out nightmarish rants yearning for escape from American urban decay. Toward the end, the band moved into a furious double-time variation on the verse riff, which went on for an extended period of time while Rose squealed lines from the chorus. It was melodic, gritty, and yet another classic hard rock single from a band who could do no wrong (at least, not at the time).

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Appetite for Destruction 1987 Polydor / Universal 6:49
No Image 1992 Geffen Home Video / Geffen
Paradiso: Amsterdam - October 2, 1987 1993 Hammerjack
No Image 1994 Live Storm 5:28
Can't Hardly Wait [Original Soundtrack] 1998
Original Soundtrack
Elektra 6:46
Welcome to the Videos [Video] 1998 Geffen
Rocktober 1998
Various Artists
Live: Era '87-'93 1999 Geffen
G N' R Lies/Appetite for Destruction 1999 Universal International 6:46
Rock in Rio III 2002 7:16
Greatest Hits 2004 Universal Distribution / USM 6:46
Rock Stars 2005 Balalayka
Live in Paradise City 2012 Access All Areas
No Image 2014 Geffen 7:47
In the Empire of the Sun 2015 Sonic Boom 6:33
New York, New York Gossip 6:48
No Image 6:47
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