"Breakdown" as written by W. Axl Rose, Saul Hudson, Duff Rose Mckagan and Izzy Stradlin....
We all come in from the cold
We come down from the wire
An everybody warms themselves
To a different fire
When sometimes we get burned
You'd think sometime we'd learn
The one you love is the one
That should take you higher
You ain't got no one
You better go back out and find her

Just like children hidin' in a closet
Can't tell what's goin' on outside
Sometimes we're so far off the beaten track
We'll get taken for a ride
By a parlor trick or some words of wit
A hidden hand up a sleeve
To think the one you love
Could hurt you now
Is a little hard to believe
But everybody darlin' sometimes
Bites the hand that feeds

When I look around
Everybody always brings me down
Well is it them or me
Well I just can't see
But there ain't no peace to found
But if someone really cared
Well they'd take the time to spare
A moment to try and understand
Another one's despair
Remember in this game we call life
That no one said it's fair

Breakdown
Let me hear it now
Breakdown
Let me hear it now
Yeah
Breakdown
Let me hear it now
Breakdown
Let me hear it now
Get down with yo' bad self
Alright

I've come to know the cold
I think of it as home
When there ain't enough of me
To go around
I'd rather be left alone
But if I call you out of habit
I'm out of love and I gotta have it
Would you give it to me
If I fit you needs
Like when we both knew we had it
But now the damage's done
And we're back out on the run
Fun how ev'rything was roses
When we held on to the guns
Just because you're winnin'
Don't mean you're the lucky ones

Breakdown
Let me hear it now
Breakdown
Yeah
Breakdown
Breakdown
Let me hear it now

There goes the Challenger being chased
By the blue blue meanies on wheels
The vicious traffic squad cars are
After our lone driver
The last American hero
The the electric sitar
The demi-god
The super driver of the golden west!
Two nasty nazi cars are close behind
The beautiful lone driver
The police cars are getting closer-closer
Closer to our soul hero in his soul mobile yeah baby!
They about to strike, they gonna get him, smash! rape!
The last beautiful free soul on this planet

But it is written if the evil spirit
Arms the tiger with claws
Brahman provided wings for the dove
Thus spake the super guru"
"Did you hear that"


Lyrics submitted by mike

"Breakdown" as written by Izzy Stradlin Duff Rose Mckagan

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Breakdown song meanings
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26 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentFar and away the best GnR's song that never caught on mainstream ( and far and away better than several of their songs that did). As for meaning, to me it's that guy who is rebellious to the point of it being self-destructive but who cant see that - all he knows is that he is not happy and it seems he wont ever be (the cold is home) but in his mind he is unlucky or a victim - he cant see that he is his own worst enemy - In short, it's Axl.

    On another note, I have heard one live version of this song - a fairly poor audio only from 1991. If anyone knows of other versions of this song live I'd love to hear about it
    blacktaraon April 24, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe Guitar solo in this song might be one of my favorite solo's Slash does... I don't know why!
    Mr. Brownstoneon June 02, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Commentagree with some of the posts here but did you know the speech at the end
    "There goes the challenger being chased
    by the blue blue meanies on wheels
    The vicious traffic squad cars are after
    our lone driver
    The last American hero
    The-the electric sintar
    The demi-God,
    the super driver of the Golden West!
    Two nasty Nazi cars are close behind
    the beautiful lone driver
    The police cars are getting closer-closer...
    Closer to our soul hero in his soul mobile,
    yeah baby!
    They about to strike, they gonna get him,
    smash! rape!
    The last beautiful free soul on this planet
    But... it is written if the evil spirit arms
    the tiger with claws
    Brahman provided wings for the dove
    Thus spake the super guru"*
    "Did you hear that"

    is taken from the film Vanashing Point in which Kowalski, works for a car delivery service. He takes delivery of a 1970 Dodge Challenger to take from Colorado to San Fransisco, California. Shortly after pickup, he takes a bet to get the car there in less than 15 hours. After a few run-ins with motorcycle cops and highway patrol they start a chase to bring him into custody. Along the way, Kowalski is guided by Supersoul - a blind DJ with a police radio scanner. Supersoul recites that speech just as Kowalski drives full speed into a roadblock of JCBs set up by the police.
    believilon October 21, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is also about a relationship that didn't go so well. He felt bad and was willing to share his love but he was disillusioned by this love that he didn't see the person for what they really were.
    "We'll get a taken for a ride
    By a parlor trick or some words of wit
    A hidden hand up a sleeve
    To think that the one you love
    could hurt you now
    Is a little hard to believe
    But everybody darlin' sometimes
    bites the hand that feeds"
    It shows how he's trying to find help from his friends but they may not really understand completely what he's going through.
    The last line of "But... it is written if the evil spirit arms
    the tiger with claws Brahman provided wings for the dove" is absolutely beautiful. If violent harm is coming to you, just walk away, don't stay in that situation.
    skinartiaon March 11, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOne of my favs. If not THE fav. It is a bit depressing, but i guess the whole Use Your Illusion is... Apetite for destruction was like years of childish craziness and lack of responsibility, whereas UYI (esp. II) is a bitter plunge into the reality of adulthood with all the duties and problems. And the song is all that - it is the very summary of that plunge.
    Lesteron April 09, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOne of the best job ever, lyrically!
    It's full of metaphors and advices! it seems that Axl wants to share his experiences with other people! and the solo kicks ass! it's very similar to a song called Amazing from Aerosmith!
    Farhadon September 15, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentin my opinion this is one oft the best songs from from UYII with great lyrics and a special tone in music(hard to describe^^)that can bring up strong emotions. i think it deals with relation problems and problems in life . the person in the song is confused about the life and how some people act. i think everyone has times when he feels the same
    blackestdogon April 02, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentEasily my favorite long track by Guns, and the only one I can bear to listen to on UYI consistently (sorry, "November Rain," "Coma," "Locomotive," "Estranged," and even, to a lesser extent, "Civil War" aren't my speed).

    I think it reflects Axl's state of mind at the time. Slash said in his autobiography that during the UYI recording process he became detached and very seldom came to practice on time. They almost never saw him in the studio. He was having obvious emotional conflict but became impossible to speak with. It was during this time that he rearranged the contract so he owned the Guns N' Roses name. A legal battle ensued, and with Axl's controlling impulses becoming higher and higher (including the addition of studio musicians, synthesized effects, pay cuts, a legal battle within the band) Slash decided to leave the band. Not late after, Duff McKagan quit, and Matt Sorum was fired soon after.

    What could have caused all of this? Slash seemed to ignore the music's lyrical value in his book. The only times he went into the lyrical aspects of GNR's music were when mentioning the story of Michelle (a real person) in "My Michelle" and Slash's input on the chorus of "Paradise City." Maybe Axl was dealing with family problems, or maybe he lost a very important friend, though no such thing was mentioned in the book. Maybe he was losing control of his life in a hundred ways, and he tried to control the only thing he had left: Guns N' Roses. I think if the band had paid more attention to Axl's lyrics, they could have helped in some way, and maybe they'd still be together. But maybe they tried.

    Well, Axl's still a dick. (A great songwriter, but a dick.)
    Shinsenon February 12, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFirst off, this song is a damn masterpiece. Maybe my favorite GnR track.

    One of the many awesome things about this song is that it is emotionally stirring, yet it isn't apparent exactly what it is about. The vagueness in the lyrics allows the listener to tailor the meaning to their own feelings and experiences, which gives the song a wide appeal.

    I think believil's post about the origin of the speech at the end is the key to understanding the meaning of this song. The hero in Vanishing Point is rebellious to the point of self destruction. Axl was that way too, and I think he is reflecting on his crazy behavior, the crazy behavior of people in his life, and the consequences of that behavior.

    Perhaps the song title implies that Rose feels he is heading for a metaphorical roadblock in his life. His craziness can no longer be sustained and he will have to breakdown at some point. That is basically what happened to him too.
    BrianMarkeyon February 11, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commenteverybody's comes from de cold and goes to the cold,
    it's life between society
    so the cold is taken as it is like home
    so it´ll be better to be left alone - in the cold - if a real relationship wont work it out
    If the person is worthy, it´ll be better clean the rusty mood for love
    if not, break it down, remembering that you´ll be always be free (in or out of love)
    forever like Challenger guided by Supersoul

    did you hear that?
    estevao112on December 01, 2018   Link

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