The Story of SKID ROW’s “Youth Gone Wild” (1989)

skid-row1For the past following weeks, I’ve been having kind of a Skid Row marathon, which I guess is the reason why I wanted to talk about “Youth Gone Wild”. Also, I’ve been binge watching “Gilmore Girls” and Sebastian just keeps on popping and making me crank up some Skid Row right after the episode is over. I got to know the band and of course, their charismatic leader, because of that “little” 1989 debut album. I was making the first steps towards my “late-‘80s-hair metal enlightenment” and it was absolutely inevitable to come across Skid Row on my long and hairy road. I’m a sucker for power ballads so of course “I Remember You” became the reason why I fell for the band and the album. The second place goes to “Youth Gone Wild” which is actually one of my top empowering songs and the reason why Sebastian Bach is one of the most notable rock vocalists in my book. I guess what I felt after hearing it for the first time was exactly what the song was intended to provoke in its listeners – confidence, sense of control and the scream of your inner strength after being set free.

Let’s not forget that Skid Row is a household name when it comes to hard rock, so if you are looking to expand your knowledge or learn more about that band that just keeps on appearing everywhere on your “YouTube suggested videos” section, their debut single might be the right place to start.Let’s go wild with this ultimate hard rock classic!


 

  • “Youth Gone Wild” is Skid Row’s debut single, released from their 1989 eponymous album. Written by bass player Rachel Bolan and guitarist Dave Sabo, the uplifting, rebellious tune quickly became one of Skid Row’s signature live acts and an absolute fan favorite. Despite the major commercial success of the debut album (certified 5xPlatinum by the RIAA), “Youth Gone Wild” barely made it on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Then again, that’s not a merit for the significance and brilliance of a song. The impact and significance of that song turned out to be colossal – both for the band’s legacy and the history of hard rock.
  • In 1992, Skid Row re-released the song on their cover album “B-Side Ourselves”. The re-introduction of “Youth Gone Wild” got awarded with a Top30 position on the UK Singles Chart.
  • youth-gifThe iconic music video to accompany the anthem-like song “Youth Gone Wild” was an absolute sensation, receiving tons of airplay on MTV. The video features a dynamic stage performance of Skid Row, cut by scenes of the members of the band running, breaking fences till one gets caught by what appears to be a police officer. Similar-style music videos were countless back in the day, however this one seems to stand out – whether it’s because of the song or because of Sebastian being handsome as hell, I don’t know. The important thing is that MTV loved this video.

Music Video

“When Skid Row wanted me to join the band, they sent me a cassette with a bunch of songs on it and that song was probably my favorite. When I joined the band, I got the tattoo of ‘Youth Gone Wild’ on my arm before we had a record deal, before we had a manager. I got ‘Youth Gone Wild’ tattooed on my arm when we were a club band.”

“I believed in that song with all my heart before anybody else did that I know about,” he added. “A lot of people think I got that tattoo after we had sold a million copies of the record. I got it when we were completely unknown, when nobody knew that song. That’s when I got it.”

(Sebastian Bach for Guitar World;
Quote, retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=5511)
  • The most fascinating point of “Youth Gone Wild” (at least in my opinion) is its lyrical strength and aggressiveness. The striking title says it all – this song is about those misfit kids, who never played by the rules and stayed true to their nature; “Youth Gone Wild” is a song about not doing what others tell you to do but stand for what you believe in. The track is one hell of a kiss-ass way of saying “screw you, I am young and I am wild and I will follow my heart!” “Youth Gone Wild” is the perfect teenage anthem!
    Moreover, to me this song was Skid Row‘s way of making a statement regarding the way rock fans were seen as back in the day. He would often say, right before he starts singing “Youth Gone Wild”, that this is all about the prejudice against people who listen to rock&roll.

    The debut single of Skid Row is the kind of song that makes people knock the socks off everyone and everything! Yes, it’s that powerful. If we add Sebastian’s legendary vocals, we get this perfect sonic force that can easily cause an earthquake. If you are looking for music to make your blood boil and give you an extra dose of confidence, look no further!


A couple of reasons why this song was a live staple ~

Skid Row – Youth Gone Wild (Live at Wembley Stadium 1991)

“Youth Gone Wild” Live in Japan (n.d)

Sebastian Bach “YOUTH GONE WILD”, M3 Rock Festival, 2014


“Youth Gone Wild” Lyrics

[Bolan, Snake]

Since I was born they couldn’t hold me down
Another misfit kid, another burned-out town

Never played by the rules I never really cared
My nasty reputation takes me everywhere

I look and see it’s not only me
So many others have stood where I stand
We are the young so raise your hands

They call us problem child
We spend our lives on trial
We walk an endless mile
We are the youth gone wild
We stand and we won’t fall
We’re the one and one for all
The writing’s on the wall
We are the youth gone wild

Boss screamin’ in my ear about who I’m supposed to be
Getcha a 3-piece Wall Street smile and son you’ll look just like me

I said “Hey man, there’s something that you oughta know.
I tell ya Park Avenue leads to Skid Row.”

I look and see it’s not only me
We’re standin’ tall ain’t never a doubt
We are the young, so shout it out

They call us problem child
We spend our lives on trial
We walk an endless mile
We are the youth gone wild
We stand and we won’t fall
We’re the one and one for all
The writing’s on the wall
We are the youth gone wild

They call us problem child
We spend our lives on trial
We walk an endless mile
We are the youth gone wild
We stand and we won’t fall
We’re the one and one for all
The writing’s on the wall
We are the youth gone wild
We are the youth gone wild


References:
“Youth Gone Wild” Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/skidrow/youthgonewild.html
“Youth Gone Wild” facts, retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=5511

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

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