Civil War



"Civil War" is a Guns N' Roses song (written by Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan), originally appearing on the 1990 album "Nobody's Child", a fundraising compilation for Romanian orphans. It is a protest song about war, that amongst other things says that a civil war only "feeds the rich while it buries the poor". Notably, the United States was involved in no major military operations at the time of its recording, so it is mostly thought of as a tribute of sorts to 1960s anti-Vietnam War protest songs.

Guns N' Roses performed the song at Farm Aid IV on April 7, 1990. This performance was televised.

It was the first track on Use Your Illusion II, appeared on the compilation Use Your Illusion, and on Guns N' Roses Greatest Hits.

The song also mentions John F. Kennedy's assassination with the lyrics: "and in my first memories they shot Kennedy," as well as the battle for civil rights and the Vietnam War.

On September 27, 1993, Duff McKagan explains where the song came from in an interview on Rockline: "Basically it was a riff that we would do at sound-checks. Axl came up with a couple of lines at the beginning. And... I went in a peace march, when I was a little kid, with my mom. I was like four years old. For Martin Luther King. And that's when: "Did you wear the black arm band when they shot the man who said: "Peace could last forever"?. It's just true-life experiences, really."

The song samples Strother Martin's speech in Cool Hand Luke ("What we've got here is... failure to communicate. Some men you just can't reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it... well, he gets it. I don't like it any more than you men.") and a Peruvian militant general's speech ("We practice selective annihilation of mayors and government officials, for example, to create a vacuum, then we fill that vacuum. As popular war advances, peace is closer").

The song ends (with Jimi Hendrix's Voodoo Chile tune) with the telling line, "What's so civil about war anyway?", a word play on the dual meaning of the word civil.

The song also plays homage to American Civil War song "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" with snippets of the tune used in the introduction, and then again in the outro.

"Civil War" is the last song in which drummer Steven Adler played for Guns N' Roses before being replaced by Matt Sorum.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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