“Don’t Cry” by Guns N’ Roses

The history behind Guns N’ Roses’ “Don’t Cry” is that one of its writers, Izzy Stradlin, was dating a girl whom the other, Axl Rose, happened to also be in love with. And whereas the history of this triangle is a bit convoluted, what it ultimately boiled down to is one day homegirl and Izzy broke up. Then afterwards, she also informed Axl that she and he can no longer be associated either. This broke his heart, and accordingly he began to weep. And the words of comfort she imparted upon him were “don’t cry”.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Guns N' Roses's Don’t Cry at Lyrics.org.

Narrator sings from Girl’s “Viewpoint”

Thus from a historical perspective Axl is actually singing from the viewpoint of that lady, not himself. And the singer is addressing what would logically be a romantic interest. And what he is telling this person is that, basically, he has decided to follow a different path in life which necessitates no longer being romantically involved with her. And the addressee is visibly shaken by this revelation, which is why he is telling her “don’t cry”. 

Indeed in the midst of all this, he assures her that he still very much loves her. He also alludes to the fact that he’s been truthful throughout, in addition stating a confidence that she will be fine without him and in fact will eventually get over their association. So fundamentally, what he is telling her is that even though he’s departing and she’s upset as a result she should instead focus on her future, which looks very bright.

Alternate Version

However, as detailed in the facts’ section, there is also an alternate version of this song with different-verse lyrics. And overall it seems to be based on the same theme of the singer deciding to break up with his lover. However, in this case the mood is a bit different. That is their relationship is depicted as being a tumultuous one, as in the couple having their fair share of issues in both the past and present. Indeed this scenario isn’t presented so much as one where the vocalist is going through an internal change, but rather external pressures are contributing to the dissolution of this association.

So like the original, he states a love and even to some degree a continued commitment to the addressee. But that being said, he seems kind of fed up and resolved to end their romance, lest he be overtaken by the associated negativity.

In Conclusion

So perhaps the original and alternate versions of “Don’t Cry” are two sides of the same coin. One details the singer’s decision to breakup with his girlfriend and the other his rationale for doing so. Or it can also be argued that they are based on two different relationships altogether. And if so, then it would be something like in the original the singer is getting dumped, while in the alternate he rather is doing the dumping. But either way the overall sentiments of both versions are pretty simple. And that is the vocalist telling the addressee, in light of the termination of their relationship, not to cry.

Lyrics of “Don’t Cry” by Guns N’ Roses

Music Video

The music video to the song had two directors, namely Mark Racco and Andy Morahan. There is a scene contained therein where Axl Rose appears as though he’s going to commit suicide, only to be deterred by his girlfriend. That particular lady is a model by the name of Stephanie Seymour, whom Axl was dating at the time. However, according to Rose, that scene is based on a real-life event where he was truly on the verge of taking his own life. But in actuality the lady who prevented him from doing so was another model/actress by the name of Erin Everly, whom Axl was briefly married to during the early 1990s.

Release of “Don’t Cry”

This song was released in two different parts. The original lyrics serve as the A-side of the single. And there is also another rendition that uses an alternate set of lyrics, which serves as its B-side.

Both of these renditions are featured on Guns N’ Roses’ album “Use Your Illusion”, which itself came in two parts. Thus the original version of “Don’t Cry” is on “Use Your Illusion I” and the alternate “Use Your Illusion II”.

And “Don’t Cry” came out on the same day as “Use Your Illusion”, which is 17 September 1991. In fact Geffen Records decided to release it as the first single from the album.

Chart Success

“Don’t Cry” made it onto the top 10 of both the UK Singles Chart and the Billboard Hot 100.  And for the most part it performed similarly in the other 15 countries in which it charted.

As such this song has been certified Gold not only in the United States but also New Zealand and Italy as well.

Who wrote “Don’t Cry”?

Axl Rose penned this tune alongside fellow Guns N’ Roses co-founder Izzy Stradlin. In fact they began writing it (as a song originally entitled “Don’t Cry Tonight”) in 1985, before Guns N’ Roses itself has officially formed. Indeed the demo they presented to Geffen Records in order to secure their first contract actually featured this song.

A Member of a Trilogy

“Don’t Cry” is said to be part of a trilogy of tracks with the other two – “Estranged” and “November Rain” – also being featured on “Use Your Illusion”. Indeed even the music videos to these songs are intended to tell one cohesive story.

Production Credits

The producer of “Don’t Cry” is Mike Clink, who not only frequently collaborated with Guns N’ Roses but also worked with many other successful rock bands from the late 20th century.

Shannon Hoon features on this track

“Don’t Cry” features Shannon Hoon (1967-1995). Shannon was perhaps best known as the leader of a rock group called Blind Melon.

1 Response

  1. Onelove0962@ yahoo.com says:

    It seems for me that during the relationship,the guy is backing away, The women cant accept it she makes a lot of problems happen. They sit at a graveside to have lunch, then the girl who, he is with, is Watching them eat as she is driven by in a limousine
    It’ seems like she is predicting her own physical death. At the end he stands close to a gravestone and looks down. Did she physically die or is it symbolic for their dead relationship?

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