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Did Guns N' Roses ever use ghost writers?

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As already alluded to, the CD credits are interesting. In some cases theres some 'outside' writers. Friends/colleagues of Bucket and Brain I believe. So its somewhat similar to in the classic band when theyd write with friends, but in this case the friends are studio aces with careers who worked up stuff in studio, seeming to add flourishes to the existing arrangements and otherwise zhoozh up the existing tracks. That is a bit more in line with the idea of ghost writers.

Here is the credits for the title track (which is a straightforward rocker with a cinematic style intro tagged on): Rose, Joshua Freese, Paul Tobias, Thomas Stinson, Darren Reed, Robert Finck, Caram Costanzo, Eric Caudieux

If I had to guess I would say that the first 5 writers wrote the actual song portion and the last 3 writers created the intro at a later date.

 

8 hours ago, DK6 said:

Nothing to do with ghost writing but there's always been rumours that session guitarists were brought in for AFD. Mostly the rumours involve the Paradise city outro solo being too fast and technical for Slash.

This is not me agreeing with these rumours by the way!

Just things that I've read.

Ive never heard that before. But its a fair observation that performance was Slash pushing himself to the very edge of his abilities at the time. Even though the band captured full takes of the songs in studio, the solos and other lead work was overdubbed after. That gives Slash the chance to really dial in, stay sober and give a lifetime performance. More likely it gives them the chance to record a handful of takes and splice together the best runs of each section. And even recording with tape theres still a few very minor assists some subtle editing can give to make it smoother, too. This is a totally normal practice in the studio, not something that diminishes the excellence of it. Adlers performance in the PC outro is really incredible too, and he would've done that live and captured a single performance!!

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The only credible story I’ve heard (at least with regards to the original band as I know nothing about the post UYI era), was that Tracii Guns had a handful of writing credits that he sold for a fixed sum in 86 or 87. I never knew if this is actually true though and don’t know the songs in question however I understand Don’t Cry was alluded to as one of them.

The way they did the credits on UYI was also different to the way they did it on Appetite & Lies. It seems with Appetite/Lies it was more if you had a hand in getting the song to completion then you got the credit - hence the whole band credits - which is similar to what Axl would say introing songs live in that era. Eg “this song was started by so and so but then the rest of the band got a hold of it and changed it all around”. whereas UYI was really only the very originators of the song. An example of this was the recent interview with Duff on the Dean Delray podcast when he is talking about Pretty Tied Up where he seems to be saying it was more of an Izzy riff tape that Duff, Slash and Steven got a hold of and then turned the thing inside out.

I’ve heard stories about the actual royalty payments for publishing on UYI being different to the credits in the album booklet as well, with the royalties being closer to the Appetite approach. I’m pretty sure someone on this forum had looked up the ASCAP payments for some songs (if that is the right terminology) and there were additional band members credited. Someone with more UYI knowledge than I would be better placed to expand on this though.

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Yeah, they helped write My World. Guns clearly weren't capable of writing such a shit song 😂

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12 hours ago, adamsapple said:

Never Aerosmith full on ghost writers, but friends liek Paul, West etc. helping out with ideas and stuff.

With Izzy and Axl they basically had one of the best songwriter teams in rock. Izzy is like the solid ground to Axl artistry madness and Axl is the wings and fireworks to Izzys downearth rock and roll, its a shame these two dont work together anymore.

Aerosmith didn't use "ghost writers." The outside writers were openly credited. Outside of "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" I think Tyler and Perry were at least credited as co-writers on everything.

Ghost writers would be people writing but GNR taking credit. I don't think this happened. The lawsuits would have flown as soon as AFD got huge.

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It seemed like they had any number of people they hung out with throwing in ideas here so they didn't specifically hire someone to write stuff for them.

I feel like the Chinese Democracy delay was mostly Axl not feeling mentally ready. I know there were some legal things to straighten out but Axl seemed like the type that wouldn't be able to focus on writing if there was any GNR related lawsuit unsettled that had no barring on his ability to put new music out in the meantime. 

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On 20.9.2018 at 3:52 AM, Gnrcane said:

Aerosmith didn't use "ghost writers." The outside writers were openly credited. Outside of "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" I think Tyler and Perry were at least credited as co-writers on everything.

Ghost writers would be people writing but GNR taking credit. I don't think this happened. The lawsuits would have flown as soon as AFD got huge.

You are right about the definition of a ghost writer, but I think its understood that this isn't the case with any of these bands and people just use the term losely to zoom in on contributions from people who were not a member of the band. There's a difference though between someone from the outside joining in or contributing to the songwriting and a band recording basically finished material in their own arrangement like Aerosmith did.

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I thought it was Desmond Child who was the writer Aerosmith? He wrote songs for a lot of bands like Aerosmith, Kiss, Bon jovi, Ricky Martin. 

 

Edited by wasted

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2 hours ago, wasted said:

I thought it was Desmond Child who was the writer Aerosmith? He wrote songs for a lot of bands like Aerosmith, Kiss, Bon jovi, Ricky Martin. 

 

That’s a good example of what people are talking about here. They’re also called song doctors. They essentially come in and take an idea to flush out or bring in fully written songs themselves.

Aerosmith used a few of these people from the 80’s onwards. After the lackluster response to their reunion album Done With Mirrors, they were essentially on their last legs. The label offered to bring someone in to help with the songs, and they had massive success. The band enjoyed the process and kept working with them. Those hits recaptured their career.

With Guns, that never happened. They would write with people who hung around the band from time to time. However it wasn’t anything that the label, management, A&R, etc tried to facilitate. They weren’t the group that took any outsiders input very well for that to work anyways 

Edited by guitarpatch

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No. The old original version of NR was recorded by Axl and his fairly rudimentary piano skills (at the time). By 1990/91 by the time he recorded the final version he was a much better player and he had sat with that song for a long time having lots of space to change and add things.

Guns have never been shy to credit writers, I can't see them writing with someone a d not giving g the credit... Unless whoever was writing with them expressly asked them not to credit them.

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8 hours ago, guitarpatch said:

That’s a good example of what people are talking about here. They’re also called song doctors. They essentially come in and take an idea to flush out or bring in fully written songs themselves.

Aerosmith used a few of these people from the 80’s onwards. After the lackluster response to their reunion album Done With Mirrors, they were essentially on their last legs. The label offered to bring someone in to help with the songs, and they had massive success. The band enjoyed the process and kept working with them. Those hits recaptured their career.

With Guns, that never happened. They would write with people who hung around the band from time to time. However it wasn’t anything that the label, management, A&R, etc tried to facilitate. They weren’t the group that took any outsiders input very well for that to work anyways 

That’s one good thing about it not being the 90s, Guns don’t need hit songs to be comsidered successful. The recomps almost want to release greatest hits albums they don’t have to pay to create. It’s like a nostalgia garage sale. A car boot sale for your soul. 

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On 9/18/2018 at 9:57 PM, Blackstar said:

I'm listening to the new Duff interview, and there are some interesting tidbits about the Illusion albums (although he obviously glosses over the process now and tries to make it sound almost like it all went smoothly and there were no conflicts at all):

- The piano on November Rain was recorded live with the band.

- It took many rehearsals for Slash and Duff to get into Estranged; when they were rehearsing at Mates, Axl was stopping them telling them that they were playing a different song (I imagine that it wasn't pretty :lol:). And when they got into it, Slash went a lot out of his ways for the guitar parts on it.

- The rehearsals in Chicago were recorded, as well as all the rehearsals at Mates. So this means there are recordings of different takes of the songs.

- There were songs Steven hadn't played at all and they did them with Matt.

- He thinks My World is great :lol:

- He said Axl learned to play guitar writing Shotgun Blues.

- Izzy had made a chart for how to play Coma (this is not new, Izzy had said it himself).

 

I would imagine YCBM (since NO demo has ever surfaced) could be one of those songs, Shotgun Blues is another I suspect Steven never did, Get in the Ring as well since that song wasn't even completely finished until June 1991. I know that approximately six songs were recorded during the UYI tour itself, so maybe those 6 plus YCBM?

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On 22/09/2018 at 5:41 PM, Fashionista said:

I would imagine YCBM (since NO demo has ever surfaced) could be one of those songs, Shotgun Blues is another I suspect Steven never did, Get in the Ring as well since that song wasn't even completely finished until June 1991. I know that approximately six songs were recorded during the UYI tour itself, so maybe those 6 plus YCBM?

 

YCBM was written or partially written during the appetite sessions

several members of the band and associates have stated this in several different interviews over the years

 

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Saw that Guns submitted a few songs for Terminator 2 back in the day. Wonder if it was just tracks they made during the UYI recording process or strictly for that. I'll research it again anyway.

 

On topic: No. It's always been a team effort (by team I mean members of the group/their friends) They never hid anything regarding ghostwriters so I wouldn't apply it to guns personally.

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On 9/22/2018 at 11:41 PM, Fashionista said:

I would imagine YCBM (since NO demo has ever surfaced) could be one of those songs, Shotgun Blues is another I suspect Steven never did, Get in the Ring as well since that song wasn't even completely finished until June 1991. I know that approximately six songs were recorded during the UYI tour itself, so maybe those 6 plus YCBM?

As already pointed out, YCBM dates from the AFD era, so even if there is no demo they had definitely rehearsed it with Steven. The recordings during the tour (the "6 songs" according to Bill Price) were mainly vocals and overdubs. I don't think any basic tracks (drums, bass, guitar) were recorded during the tour; they were already recorded. Get In The Ring was indeed one of the songs that were finished during the tour (the last one, most likely) but it was also additional vocals and overdubs. Axl talked about GITR (as "Why Do You Look At Me", which was its original title) in an interview from when Steven was still in the band, so they had probably rehearsed it with him.

Shotgun Blues is possible. My guess is that one of the songs they hadn't played with Steven was Estranged; maybe Breakdown too. Another guess is 14 Years, because according to Izzy it was one of the last songs added to the albums. It's also possible that they hadn't arranged some of the West Arkeen songs yet for the albums (The Garden, Yesterdays).

Edited by Blackstar

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Song writing credits are a legal thing. If they list the writers in the booklets, those are the people who wrote it. Anyone not listed, doesn't get paid. So, unless you think people are walking around just giving singers and bands songs for fun, then... no, there's no such thing.

In music, when a song writer writes songs, you can see it the credits within the album. It's not hidden.

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