"November Rain" is an epic rock ballad released by the band Guns N' Roses in 1992. The song clocks in at 8 minutes and 57 seconds making it the longest song to reach the Top 10 in Billboard's Hot 100. "November Rain" peaked at number 3 on the U.S. charts and number 4 on the U.K. charts. It would go on to be Guns N' Roses last Top 40 hit in the states.
According to legend, Axl Rose had been working on "November Rain" for up to ten years prior to the song's inclusion on "Use Your Illusion I." Former band mate Tracii Guns has stated that Axl would play around with the song on piano and already had the "November Rain" theme in his head going back to 1983. He just didn't know how to finish it. Tracii reassured Axl that the song was good but Rose was adamant in his belief that the song wasn't done and needed something else.
GNR guitarist Slash wrote in his biography that an 18-minute version of "November Rain" was recorded in 1986 prior the band recording "Appetite For Destruction." Rose has stated that Slash and bassist Duff McKagan weren't happy that GNR were straying from their raunchy guitar rock for symphonic ballads like "November Rain." Slash has denied this accusation in his biography. Slash's weeping guitar solo is considered a highlight of "November Rain."
Lyrically the song is about being in love and growing apart. Rose is apparently grieving over a love that has been reserved and is now in jeopardy of being lost forever. The sentiment is that hearts can change and even a candle that once burned bright cannot stay lit in the cold November rain. Walking in the November rain is used as a metaphor for walking away from the relationship.
There also seems to be an acceptance on Rose's part that the two of them could reunite down the road. There seems to be a suggestion that the two of them just need a little time alone but they could find their way back to one another since time heals all wounds. Not even a cold November rain can last forever and everybody needs somebody.
The song's video is based on a short story called "Without You" by Del James. The video is a classic and had an enormous budget of $1.5 million. Axl marries Stephanie Seymour (his real-life girlfriend at the time) at a lavish wedding that is interrupted by a thunderstorm. Suddenly we cut to a funeral scene where we find Stephanie Seymour in a casket. There has been much speculation as to how she dies in the video. There is a mirror over part of her face as she's shown in the casket. This would indicate that she died from a gunshot wound or some sort of head trauma. Some people believe she was struck by lightning during the wedding's storm. Others feel that Axl, shown at one point walking past a gun store, could have shot her or she was driven to suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot.
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