In an interview with HuffPost Live, Slash admits, “To tell you the truth, I have no idea [what ‘November Rain’ is about].” No one did. And we didn’t care. It was Guns N’ Roses and arguably the best nine minutes of 1992. Here are a few fun facts and FAQs to help you better enjoy this ’90s classic now.
“November Rain” fun facts
• The concept behind the lyrics and video of “November Rain” is loosely based on a short story by Del James titled “Without You.” In Del’s tale, a blues musician tries to cope with the loss of his girlfriend, who commits suicide.
• The bride in the video is Victoria’s Secret and Sports Illustrated model Stephanie Seymour (remember how we loved to hate her in those early ’90s VS catalogs?), who was Axl Rose’s girlfriend at the time. Rose claimed they were engaged; Seymour denied it.
• Production costs for the video were $1.5 million, making it the most expensive video ever made (at that time). Construction costs for the chapel in the desert were $150,000 and the wedding dress was $8,000. The chapel footage was filmed in New Mexico.
• “November Rain” is the longest song to land on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, topping out at No. 3.
• MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball host Riki Rachtman is the dude who dives into the wedding cake in the video.
• Guns N’ Roses performed “November Rain” with Elton John at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards. GNR walked away that night with an award for best cinematography and the Video Vanguard award.
• According to L.A. Guns guitarist Tracii Guns, Rose started writing “November Rain” in 1983. The original version is rumored to have been 25 minutes long. In his autobiography, Slash wrote that an 18-minute version was recorded in 1986 with Nazareth guitarist Manny Charlton. (Where is that recording sesh, please?)
• This isn’t the first time Slash has publicly questioned the video. In 2004, the legendary guitarist told Q magazine, “We got into doing these huge production videos and by ‘November Rain’ it was too much, just too involved. At the end of the day, it was a great video, but that’s when I started realizing that it was getting out of hand.”
And now, for a few “huh?” moments
• What’s up with the weird little headless statue next to Rose’s bed (0:07)?
• How did they get the piano in that tiny chapel (0:44)?
• Why is Jesus crying tears of blood (1:20)?
• Does Stephanie Seymour really smoke (2:33)? Actually, we looked this up. As of 2012, the answer is yes.
• Can someone please explain Rose’s vampire pinkie ring (3:23)?
• How much did those backup singers get paid to swing their arms and sing, “Aaaaaahhhh”?
• What happened to Slash’s cig during his epic guitar solo? We see it at 4:19, but by 4:23 it’s gone. Did the wind from the chopper filming him blow it away? This raises another burning question — does Slash ever worry about having a lit smoke by all that hair?
• Is anybody cooler than Slash during this solo?
• Wait for it (7:04). This isn’t a “huh?” moment so much as it is one of the most incredible song transitions in rock history. And there it is (7:26).
• Wait, why is the bride dead (7:11)? We just saw her at her reception, in a black dress, after the wedding.
• Why wasn’t Rose at the cemetery (8:11 – 8:34)?