It’s not November but it is raining here today so this is a fitting post for Throwback Thursday. The first time I saw the video for the Guns N’ Roses hit “November Rain” was the summer after I had finished my 8th grade year. It was a typical Saturday night with my friend Teri and her two poodles (one standard, one miniature) at her house in my hometown. Usually by this time of night we were out running around in the dark, throwing chokecherries at passing cars or spying on the homes of boys who lived in the neighborhood. However, tonight was special because there was a new local “video tv show” that was going to be airing that night on cable-access hosted by two of our pre-high school classmates.
Keep in mind that Wayne’s World was released in February of 1992, so it is safe to assume that Ben Melby and Louis Whitehead had been scheming for four months on how to pull this thing off by June. Well they did it. And we were all watching with baited breath.
I played a lot of Nintendo back in those days so my memory of Ben and Louis’ show is kind of foggy. But I do remember that one of the first videos they featured was “November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses. This is one of those long-form videos that is more like a mini-movie than a music video. I remember thinking that lead singer Axl Rose was so
gross “unique” that a supermodel like Stephanie Seymour would never marry him in real life. I guess I was right. If you can get past that kissing scene without vomiting this one is worth taking another look at.
Though it wasn’t released until 1992, bandmates say Rose had been writing it since 1983. It became such an opus for Rose that fellow Guns members became opposed to recording it all together, protesting that the orchestration was watering down their rock sound. Obviously they gave in and the world is glad they did. The crane shots during Slash’s solo at the prairie church are my favorites, along with the switch in the tempo and darker mood the video takes on when the rain starts to fall and she dies. I never could quite understand why she died but my logical explanation was that she got pneumonia from the rain storm. So please, wear a coat today.