Don't Cry

Album: Use Your Illusion I and II (1991)
Charted: 8 10
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • Songimage
  • As stated by Axl Rose in an interview with Geffen Records for a video collection, this song pre-dates the band. Before Guns N' Roses formed, Rose wrote it with guitarist Izzy Stradlin after they each fell for the same girl. She wouldn't make a choice and told Axl while he was sitting on a park bench, "Don't Cry Bill," which provided the title. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ted - Kingston, Canada
  • Shannon Hoon, who was lead singer of Blind Melon, sang backup on this track. Hoon and Axl Rose both grew up in Lafayette, Indiana. Hoon also sang on "November Rain."
  • Guns N' Roses tried recording this for their first album, 1987's Appetite for Destruction, but they couldn't get the sound they were looking for (this was before they earned huge budgets for their projects). It wasn't until 1991 that it finally appeared on an album.

    The band performed the song live in their early years, but stopped once they recorded Appetite. Bootleg recordings of the song were floating around, however, and Shannon Hoon had one - when he was in a cover band he would sometimes play it. Finally, in 1991, Guns N' Roses issued the song on an album after keeping it dormant for four years.
  • This song appears on both Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II. The second version is considered the alternate, and contains different lyrics.
  • The video is a grand production, with a story written by Rose and Josh Richman. It was directed by Andy Morahan, who also did the "November Rain" video (Rose's girlfriend at the time, Stephanie Seymour, appears in both videos).

    Several very distinct scenes comprise the 5:14 clip, starting with baby. Zooming into his eye, we dissolve to a snowy scene where a frozen Axl is holding a gun; referred to as the "Frozen Man" scene, Axl says it is meant to show "somebody trapped in time."

    From there, it gets even more conceptual, with scenes of a funeral, a drowning, and domestic unrest intercut among footage of the band performing on a rooftop.

    Things to note:

    A sign that says "Where's Izzy." This refers to Izzy Stradlin, who had left the band, replaced by Gilby Clarke.

    The scenes where Slash is getting beat up by a girl in the car got pretty intense - he says that she was hitting him for real, and he was really trying to fend her off, since he was supposed to keep his eyes on the road.

    Shannon Hoon shows up on the rooftop, singing along in the chorus.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 7

  • Jason from Bay City MichigaanI really like this song. The way Axl ends the song with his voice.
  • Colton from Concord, CaI think that it feels more like the last words of someone's partner who recently died. The tone and mood makes it seem like something more tragic than just a simple denial.
  • Rudy from Kowloon, Hong KongThis song is always at top 20 of my private chart. I love "Don't Cry" this song so much.
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnThe way Axl hangs on to the last note is brilliant. Who sings like that?
  • Josh from Indianapolis, Inthis songs kinda soft for gnr but they pull it off nicely. i liked it the first time i heard it
  • Dave from Melbourne, AustraliaThis song rulez.
  • Jose from Chandler, Azone of my favorite songs by gnr.
see more comments

Bob DaisleySongwriter Interviews

Bob was the bass player and lyricist for the first two Ozzy Osbourne albums. Here's how he wrote songs like "Crazy Train" and "Mr. Crowley" with Ozzy and Randy Rhoads.

The Evolution of "Ophelia"Song Writing

How four songs portray Shakespeare's character Ophelia.

Director Nick Morris ("The Final Countdown")Song Writing

Nick made some of the biggest videos on MTV, including "The Final Countdown," "Heaven" and "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)."

Spooner OldhamSongwriter Interviews

His keyboard work helped define the Muscle Shoals sound and make him an integral part of many Neil Young recordings. Spooner is also an accomplished songwriter, whose hits include "I'm Your Puppet" and "Cry Like A Baby."

Mike CampbellSongwriter Interviews

Mike is lead guitarist with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and co-writer of classic songs like "Boys Of Summer," "Refugee" and "The Heart Of The Matter."

The Real Nick DrakeSong Writing

The head of Drake's estate shares his insights on the late folk singer's life and music.