Don't Cry

Album: Use Your Illusion I and II (1991)
Charted: 8 10

Songfacts®:

  • 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.

Comments: 9

  • Punto Bean from Kentucky Usa Is this song a sequel to November rain or prequel showing clips of him suffering from loosing his girlfriend and had a funeral in November rain and cant let go of her?
  • Left Head Kick from Middle Class Usa Awesome song, great guitar.

    Sad lyrics and video. It’s as if he is saying goodbye to a partner, a loved one, or the partner died. When He is in the graveyard smoking a cigarette with the girl, he sees the girl in the limo and it looks like it’s the same girl or perhaps she is the one he really wants to be with I’m not sure.

    Now I get to live this song for real.

    I was in a relationship with a beautiful lady for six years, but I told her in the beginning I did not want to be married. Did not want kids either. This would come up every three months. And I held my ground. We had our problems, and they became more apparent at the end.

    We used to have our goodbyes when she would be at my place for the weekend or I’ll be at her place up north and she would tell me: “parting is such sweet sorrow.“ she was right. I would look at her longer when I would pull away or vice versa. I would look at her longer holding an extra couple seconds.

    I think she had borderline personality or BPD traits because of the constant fear of abandonment, the anger flashes, the crying spells, the intense anger etc.

    She pushed me away eventually and things became too much. But I miss the old days, the first several years. When everything was wonderful. And I couldn’t wait to be around her. Like Axle in the video sinking with the girl in the pool. I guess that’s what I was doing too.

    Being around her sometimes made me depressed. Because of her background. She had a rough upbringing. Some nasty s--t happened to her and she dealt with the best she could. She got a raw deal on a lot of things. But she was very loving towards me, it she made me feel special. I’ll never know if that was really her feelings, or the borderline personality. I guess it doesn’t matter now.

    She talked to me different, she made me feel different. And then says became toxic.

    “And please remember, that I never lied.
    And please remember, how I felt inside.”
  • 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.
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