Certain Songs #570: Guns N’ Roses – “Get in The Ring”

Guns Use Your Illusion II Album: Use Your Illusion II
Year: 1991

Back in 1977, The Clash were offended that CBS released “Remote Control” as a single and responded with “Complete Control,” one of the greatest lyrics ever written about the need for artistic freedom, combined one of the most ferocious performances ever put to vinyl.

Both the music and lyrics perfectly complemented each other, and the combination resulted in a song that is an undisputed classic, full stop.

A dozen or so years later, Guns N’ Roses were offended at how they were being portrayed by various music writers and responded with “Get in The Ring,” which features one of the worst, most petulant lyrics ever written. Like a Donald Trump speech put to music.

But the music!! Not as amazing as “Complete Control,” duh, but for sheer power and utter momentum, it’s almost impossible to top full steam ahead power that “Get in the Ring” has achieved by the time it gets to its best lyric:

You may not like our integrity, yeah
We built a world out of anarchy
Oh yeah!

Of course, that’s after Axl’s rant, which is quite possibly the stupidest thing I love as much as I do. At the time, it struck me as just stupid, but as the band ramps up the music around it, now it seems funny. And getting funnier every year.

And that goes for all of you punks in the press that want to start shit by printin’ lies instead of the things we said.
That means you Andy Secher at Hit Parader, Circus magazine
Mick Wall at Kerrang, Bob Guccione Jr. at SPIN
What you pissed off ’cause your dad gets more pussy than you?
Fuck you! suck my fuckin’ dick!
You be rippin’ off the fuckin’ kids while they be payin’ their hard earned money to read about the bands they want to know about.
Printin’ lies, startin’ controversy.
You want to antagonize me? antagonize me motherfucker!
Get in the ring motherfucker!
And I’ll kick your bitchy little ass!

Of course, Guccione, who — unknown to Axl, I’m guessing — was an amateur boxer, responded and accepted the challenge. And of course, nothing ever happened.

I mean, except for this song, which climaxed with boxing noises and an announcer saying “And in this corner, weighing in at 850 pounds, Guns N’ Roses” as the band — and overdubbed fake crowd — chanting “Get in the ring” over and over and over as Slash kicked the song ever higher.

Of course, now that announcer would have to say: “And in this corner, weighing in at 850 pounds, W. Axl Rose!!” See what I did there?

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