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SoulMonster

Paradise City

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Paradise City

Post by Soulmonster on Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:09 am


PARADISE CITY
Album:
Appetite for Destruction, 1987, track no. 6.

Written by:
Lyrics: Axl Rose and Slash.
Music: Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan and Slash.

Musicians:
Vocals and synthesizer: Axl Rose; lead Guitar: Slash; rhythm guitar: Izzy Stradlin; bass: Duff McKagan; drums: Steven Adler.

Live performances:
The song was played for the first time at The Troubadour on October 10, 1985. All incarnations of Guns N' Roses have played this song live. In total it has, as of {UPDATEDATE}, at least been played {PARADISESONGS} times.
Lyrics:
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 somethin' to eat
       I'll pay you at another time
       Take it to the end of the line

     Ragz to richez or so they say
       Ya gotta keep pushin' for the fortune and fame
       It's all a gamble
       When it's just a game
       Ya treat it like a capital crime
       Everybody's doin' their time
Take me down
       To the paradise city
       Where the grass is green
       And the girls are pretty
       Take me home

     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 ya gonna believe
     
Take me down
       To the paradise city
       Where the grass is green
       And the girls are pretty
       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 losin' 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


Quotes:
During those first rehearsals, the five of us started working up a new song together based on some lyrics I had brought with me in a notebook from Seattle. The song became 'Paradise City,' and it started to gel in those few days before our Troubadour show [June 6, 1985] and he trip to Seattle [The Hell Tour] [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 70]
This next song is a brand new one, 'Take Me Home to the Paradise City' [The Troubadour, October 10, 1985]
We just wrote this one today so, hey hey [The Troubadour, October 10, 1985]
This song is about a half an hour old [The Troubadour, October 10, 1985]
Most of the harmonies and stuff I came up with, like in 'It's So Easy' and 'Paradise City', I came up with the night I was recording those parts, 'cause I never had the opportunity to work on it before [Interview with Axl by Steve Harris, December 1987]
Being asked about the mixing on Appetite for Destruction: 'Paradise City' could have been a little clearer [Interview with Axl by Steve Harris, December 1987]
The chords to 'Paradise City', I wrote the chords to that song when I first moved to L.A., when I didn't know anybody and was feeling a little down. So that kind of came out of reaching for something. (...) If one person brings in a song to this band, it always gets raped by the other four people. It always gets changed around to where it its Guns N' Roses as a group [Hit Parader, March, 1988]
Listen to "Paradise City," the actual riff is heavy as far as heavy goes. but at the same time I have a major blues thing happening. The stuff I play is bluesy but I play the bluesy stuff heavily or at least that's the way I approach everything [Guitar For The Practising Musician, September 1988]
[...] as we developed songs, we put a lot of emphasis on anything that veered away from the main melody - we all felt that diverging from a good tune was only justifiable if the other part was just as good. That meant we rejected cookie-cutter songwriting that demanded bridges for bridges' sake and strictly delineated between verses and choruses. Instead we only went places we really felt strongly about. There's a reason the codas in songs like 'Rocket Queen,' 'Paradise City,' or 'Patience' sound so distinctive - we didn't feel compelled to add them; we were just so excited about certain ideas that, working together, day after day, we found ways to incorporate them [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 96-97]
"Paradise City" we wrote before we were thinking about going in the studio [Guitar For The Practising Musician, September 1988]
There's a long lead on the end of "Paradise City," which was basically improvised [Guitar For The Practising Musician, September 1988]
The verses are more about being in the jungle; the chorus is like being back in the mid-west or somewhere. IT reminds me of when I was a little kid and just looked up at the blue sky and went: "wow, what is all this? It's so big out there." Everything was more innocent. There are parts of the song that have more of a down home feel. And when I started putting the overlays of my vocals (I put five tracks on there), it seemed that it came out like some Irish or Scottish heritage. One of the weird things is I had a feeling that it would go over good in Europe [Hit Parader, March, 1988]
The best songs we do, they're collaborations. The best way to do it is to have the whole band sit there and listen to everybody else's ideas, and put it all together to make something that everybody enjoys playing [Hit Parader, March, 1988]
'Paradise City' is more about me and the streets. Duff wrote the first part of the chorus, Izzy wrote the second part, and Slash wrote the melody of the last half of the chorus... [Nussbaum (1988) Soft As A Petal/Sharp As A Thorn, Rock Scene - April 1988]
I dig the groove. Always have. [Guitar For The Practising Musician, November 1992]
We were in the van, coming back from San Fransisco to L.A., and we just started playing the basic chords - it was on acoustic at the time. Then we got into this 'Take me down to the paradise city, where the girls are fat and they got big titties' thing. I think initially it started out with 'the grass is green,' and I thought, 'That's lame!' But we ended up keeping the 'grass is green' thing. The 'big titty' thing was just my own problem [Turner (2001) 10 Rockin' Riffs From Appetite, Lies, Use Your Illusion I-II, Guitar One - June 2001]
We were in our rental van, drinking and playing acoustic guitar, when I came up with the jangly intro to what became 'Paradise City'. Duff and Izzy picked it up and started playing  it while I came up with the chord changes. I started humming a melody and played it over and over. Then Axl chimed in. "Take me down to the Paradise City." I kept playing and tossed off some impromptu lyrics. "Where the grass is green and girls are pretty," I sang. I thought that sounded totally gay. "Take me down to Paradise City," Axl sang again. "Where the girls are fat and they've got big titties!" I shouted. (...) I expanded on the basic structure of the song as everyone improvised lyrics in rounds as if we were on a bus heading off to rock-and-roll summer camp, as the L.A. skyline came into view, I suppose we were. After we got the whole chorus rolling, that's when I slammed into the big heavy riff that anchors the song. And that's the moment that 'Paradise City' became my favorite Guns N' Roses song [Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York]
There were only two things that I found difficult while recording my overdubs for Appetite. The first was the solo at the end of 'Paradise City,' which was always easy live but wasn't in the studio. IN concert, it could last anywhere from one to two minutes, but on the album version of the song, it was designed to be exactly thirty seconds. Si it wasn't easy for me to focus the same narrative and emotion into thirty seconds, and when the red light came on, it threw me for a loop - I actually got gun-shy. I remember going at it a few times and getting so frustrated that I just left the studio completely disappointed; the next day, though, I came in fresh and nailed it [Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York, pp 176]
Being asked what his favourite song off Appetite is: 'Paradise City' is still my favorite. We wrote that as a band, all five of us together in a van, on our way back to L.A. from a gig in San Francisco. There's a lot of spirit and energy there. It just encapsulates a lot about that time period for me [Guitar World, 2007 (?)]
[Mike Clink] had the idea to add a vintage Moog synthesizer to the beginning of 'Paradise City' and again, that ended up sounding great. (...) 'Paradise City' came on [the band hearing the album for the first time], and at the end of it, where it's got my drum fill that sounds like a double bass, I noticed something different. I know I did that fill only once in the studio. But Slash had the idea to repeat it somehow. I asked him right then and there, and he admitted the idea came to him in the studio. The second fill is actually the first fill played backwards. (...) I had always played it, live onstage, with just one fill. But it worked and it was completely all right with me because I respected Slash's call ["My Appetite for Destruction", 2010]
Axl had introduced a screaming synth line in 'Paradise City,' back in the Appetite days. That was the start of [adding synths and keyboard to GN'R songs], I suppose, and I was opposed to that, too [Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York, pp 318]
We had a manager [Vicky Hamilton] courting us at that time, and she gave us a ride to San Francisco to play a gig with Jetboy [Slash is probably mistaken, no known San Francisco gig took place prior to the debut of Paradise City in October 1985]. While heading back in the van, we started writing 'Paradise City.' It started off with those basic chords and then the melody, and I remember writing the words. Originally it was 'Take me down to Paradise City where the girls are fat and they got big titties' [laughs], which we changed into 'where the grass is green and the girls are pretty.' [...] [The synth] didn't come on until Axl was putting his vocals down on the record, so I had no idea about that until we got to the mixing stage. All of a sudden there was that part. Being the guitar purists that we were, Izzy and I were like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa!" But Axl won that battle, so it stayed on there. All things considered, it was never that big a deal, but it introduced a certain electronic thing that didn't fit well. Axl had a tendency to do that from time to time - to bring it in on the back end [Back to the Jungle, Guitar Edge Magazine, March 2007]
'Paradise City' is still my favorite. We wrote that as a band, all five of us together in a van, on our way back to L.A. after a gig in San Francisco. There's a lot of spirit and energy there, it just encapsulates a lot about that time period for me [20 Years of Appetite, Classic Rock Magazine, July 2007]
You can't help getting into watching people go bonkers for "Paradise City [at live shows]," that's always a kick in the pants [LA Weekly Blog, December 2011]

'Paradise City' performed live at The Ritz, February 2, 1988:


'Paradise City' performed live at L'Arc, Paris, France, on September 14, 2010:

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