Youth Gone Wild

Album: Skid Row (1989)
Charted: 42 99

Songfacts®:

  • Skid Row's first single, "Youth Gone Wild" is about being true to yourself and not having to do what other people tell you or expect you to do. It's a sentiment their 20-year-old firebrand lead singer, Sebastian Bach, could relate to.
  • Like most Skid Row songs, this was written by their bass player, Rachel Bolan, and guitarist, Dave Sabo. They founded the band in 1986 and added Bach as lead singer about a year later. Sabo was in Bon Jovi when that band was just starting out, so when he formed Skid Row, his good buddy Jon Bon Jovi did everything he could to see them succeed. Skid Row signed with Bon Jovi's manager, and as soon as their self-titled debut album was released, they joined Bon Jovi as the opening act on their New Jersey Syndicate tour.

    "Youth Gone Wild" stalled at #99 in America, but their next single, "18 And Life," took off, climbing to #4 and earning lots of airplay on radio and MTV. Skid Row hit the sweet spot of hair metal, with broad appeal but also authenticity. The album ended up selling 5 million copies, earning Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora a big payday because the band was signed to their publishing company.

    Sebastian Bach saw Skid Row as more Slayer than Poison though, and their next album, Slave To The Grind, veered away from pop trappings and didn't produce any hits despite selling over 2 million copies. It went downhill from there: They released just one more album with Bach as lead singer (Subhuman Race, 1995) and never regained their glory.
  • Sebastian Bach told Guitar World that he latched onto the anthemic impact of the song before anybody else did. He explained: "When Skid Row wanted me to join the band, they sent me a cassette with a bunch of songs on it and that song was probably my favorite. When I joined the band, I got the tattoo of 'Youth Gone Wild' on my arm before we had a record deal, before we had a manager. I got 'Youth Gone Wild' tattooed on my arm when we were a club band."

    "I believed in that song with all my heart before anybody else did that I know about," he added. "A lot of people think I got that tattoo after we had sold a million copies of the record. I got it when we were completely unknown, when nobody knew that song. That's when I got it."

Comments: 9

  • Diverdriver from Northern CaliforniaLuke, do you know what the word facetious means? Read my comment again then look it up in the dictionary if you don't know.
  • Luke from Manchester, England1. diverdriver - no, I didn't make a racist comment as racism is made from ignorance, not experience.
    If I say "all Frenchmen are smelly and f--k cheese at weekends" - that's racist, if I have seen a lot of Americans post idiotic statements about heavy metal songs, then it's not.

    2. stephanie, as an Englishman I can catagorically state I do know where the white folk settling into the US were from, we also sent them to Australia.
    My point about Americans was not a generalisation, it was from reading post upon post upon post on many, many songfact pages (not trawling, actually reading posts about songs I like) about how "Master Of Puppets" by Metallica is about Satan (it's about drug addiction) or "Revelations" by Iron Maiden is about drugs ( (it's about The bible)...
  • Willie from Scottsdale, AzWhere is England? ;-)
  • Stephanie from Eva, AlUm.... Luke you do realize that most american settlers came from ENGLAND! and just because we're not still there doesn't mean we're not capable of intellectual thought and reasoning! i personally love the song and never once thought it to be about Drugs or the devil!
  • Diverdriver from Petaluma, CaHey Luke, you realize you made a racist comment. I'm being facetious. In this litigious world, especially here in the US, you never know when some asshole who wants a freeride will be offended and file a lawsuit. Idiots like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
  • Adam from Yarmouth, MeI never ever thought that it never made sense with the song in my mind
  • Luke from Manchester, EnglandYou'd be surprised at what some Americans think songs are about (read the Metallica comments)
  • Sarah from Tavares, FlI'm American too and I never thought that either
  • Luke from Manchester, EnglandTo any Americans out there: THIS SONG IS NOT ABOUT THE DEVIL OR HEROIN SO GROW UP
see more comments

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