The Story behind ‘Don’t Cry’ by Guns N Roses

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Don’t Cry is a song by the hard rock band Guns N Roses. It has mainly 2 versions- original and alternative lyrics in the albums Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II. Both albums were released on the same day 17 September 1991. There is a 3rd version too, which was recorded during the Appetite for Destruction sessions in 1986. The original and the alternate versions have different lyrics apart from the chorus. The tune and the rhythm is pretty much the same in both the versions.


Axl spoke about the story behind the song saying that it was about a girl that Izzy Stradlin was in a relationship with. Axl, also happened to be in love with her. Izzy and the girl broke up after some time.

The girl realised that Axl was in love with her and told him that the relationship would not work with him too. Axl probably started crying afterwards and the girl told him to not cry. The next night Izzy and Axl wrote the song in 5 minutes. The girl is tattoed on Axl’s arm.

It was [about] a girl that Izzy had gone out with, and I was really attracted to her, and they split up. I was sitting outside the Roxy, and I was really in love with this person and she was realising this wasn’t gonna work – she wanted to do other things, and she was telling me goodbye and I sat down and just started crying, and she was telling me, ‘Don’t cry.’ The next night, we got together and wrote the song in five minutes.

Axl Rose

Axl admits that Don’t Cry was the first song they (Axl and Izyy) wrote for Guns N Roses and at that the band was not formed but was coming into reality. This song was one of the reasons why the band got signed.

People in LA who were their fans ever since they had been playing in clubs were bummed that they didn’t put this song on the record. The band considered this song to be one of their ace cards and they were trying to save it for later cause at that time they didn’t know if they would even sell 5 records as Axl explains.

Slash also spoke about the song saying it was the first time he collaborated with another guitarist.

When I first hooked up back together with Axl and Izzy, that was the song Izzy and Axl were working on. So that was my first having to deal with another guitar player. It was on Don’t Cry. I’m going to Izzy’s house and hanging out with him to try and build up some sort of a chemistry. So that song is actually pretty classic in my mind.


Music Video

Certain scenes in the music video were inspired by Axl’s relationship with Erin Everly (Axl’s ex wife). These music scenes were difficult for him to perform cause they affected him emotionally.

With our video for “Don’t Cry,” and the fight that Stephanie Seymour, (Axl’s then-current girlfriend) and I had over the gun, you don’t necessarily know what’s going on. But in real life that happened with Erin Everly (Axl’s ex-wife) and myself. I was going to shoot myself. We fought over the gun and I finally let her win. I was kind of mentally crippled after that. Before shooting our documentary, I said, “This seems really hard, ’cause it really happened.” And the night we wrote the scene, my friend Josh said, “Okay, how are you going to play that?” He wanted to rehearse and I was like, “Look, leave me alone.” But he kept pushing until, finally, I stood up. I had this cigarette lighter that looked like a real gun and I said, “Look, I’m gonna do it like this.” And I just went over and slammed around in the hallway a bit and threw the gun and said, “Is that good enough for you?”

Axl Rose

An interesting part of the video is a sign held by someone titled “Where’s Izzy”. Izzy Stradlin was technically still a part of the band when the band was filming the video in September 1991. He did not appear in the video as he was against high budget productions and called the multi million dollar video ‘a pointless indulgence’. Izzy was probably contemplating his exit and left the band in November the same year.

Shannon Hoon was also a part of the video and can be seen singing along in the chorus.


Slash is driving a 1966 Shelby GT 350 H and the girl who he drives off the cliff is named Brighdie Grounds. The other actresses include Stephanie Seymour, Claire Stansfield and Dylan Tays. Click here to see the cast for the Don’t Cry video.

So, that was all about the song ‘Don’t Cry’.

Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, commenting, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

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