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Left Behind (Slipknot song)

"Left Behind"
Single by Slipknot
from the album Iowa
ReleasedOctober 29, 2001 (2001-10-29)
GenreNu metal
Slipknot singles chronology
"Spit It Out"
"Left Behind"
"My Plague"

"Left Behind" is a song by American heavy metal band Slipknot. Produced by Ross Robinson, it was featured on the band's second studio album Iowa and released as the lead single from the album on October 29, 2001. The single reached number 30 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, number 24 on the UK Singles Chart and number 5 on the UK Rock & Metal Singles Chart. It was also nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2002.

Composition and lyrics

"Left Behind" was originally known as "Lust Disease": "An old song that we'd been playing around with before the first album," recalled frontman Corey Taylor. "We ripped it apart and rebuilt it. We wanted to have a melodic element in there somewhere, and 'Left Behind' had a darkness that meant it sat well with the other songs."[1]

It was described by British magazine Kerrang! as "considerably more melodic than the rest of the album, providing a brief moment of respite from the outright nastiness elsewhere".[2] Taylor recalls that the song was originally "much more melodic". Producer Ross Robinson accused the vocalist of "trying too hard" and encouraged him to make it "a little more guttural and put a lot more emphasis on it and just make it a smack in the mouth."[3]

Taylor has explained that the lyrics inspired by a period during which he was homeless, living under a bridge in his hometown of Des Moines, Iowa. Speaking to VH1, he reminisced that "'Left Behind' is a song about a time of my life that was really hard – I was homeless ... it's funny how many people you meet when you're homeless ... you find out so much about them, and you rely on them so much, and then when things start happening for you, those faces disappear and they're gone," concluding that the song is "about leaving behind the lives that make up your past."[4]

Promotion and release

Prior to its official release, "Left Behind" (along with "People = Shit") was leaked online and made available for digital download in July 2001.[5] The song was subsequently played by several radio stations in the United States, forcing Roadrunner to officially release the track to radio earlier than originally intended.[6] The song was released as a single on October 29,[7] featuring live versions of Slipknot tracks "Liberate" and "Surfacing" as B-sides.[8] "Left Behind" was performed regularly on tour in 2002,[9] and according to set list aggregation website is the fourth most frequently-performed song from Iowa, behind "People = Shit", "Disasterpiece" and "The Heretic Anthem".[10]

Music video

The music video for "Left Behind" was directed by Dave Meyers and filmed in Los Angeles, California on August 1 and 2, 2001.[11] The video combines footage of the band performing in a forest with a narrative centred around a young protagonist, who is described by Metal Injection's Nick Dauk as "something of an outcast".[12] Ryan Book of The Music Times outlined the narrative of the video as follows: "A filthy kid works at a butcher shop chopping meat. He gets bullied. He lives alone in a rotting hulk of a house and eats his cereal with filthy water for some reason. Eventually those bullies throw a rock through the window of his rotting home and it rains."[13] The director's cut of the "Left Behind" music video was featured on the band's second video album Disasterpieces, released in November 2002.[14]

"Left Behind" has received praise from a number of commentators for its music video. Noisecreep ranked "Left Behind" as the sixth best Slipknot music video of all-time in 2013.[15] Metal Injection ranked it the band's ninth best video, praising it for effectively capturing "the remorseful lyrics that focus on vocalist Corey Taylor's sorrow in leaving behind the support system he had while going through a period of homelessness".[12] Rock Sound magazine included "Left Behind" at number two on its list of "Slipknot's 10 Most Shocking Music Video Moments", describing it as "the stuff of nightmares".[16]



"Left Behind" debuted at number 37 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.[17] It spent a total of ten weeks on the chart and peaked at number 30.[18] Outside of the United States, the song reached number 97 on the Australian Singles Chart,[19] number 24 on the UK Singles Chart,[20] number 22 on the Scottish Singles Chart,[21] and number 5 on the UK Rock & Metal Singles Chart.[22]


"Left Behind" received positive reviews from critics. Steven Wells of the NME praised Slipknot as "the perfect American rock band" on the song, outlining that it "stammers, spasms and shits itself and then it splatters the spinal columns of hard-bodied jock-zombies all over the fucking walls".[23] Loudwire ranked "Left Behind" as the band's eighth best track, claiming that "it shows off the band's attention to and knack for melody, without losing its meaty, metal edge".[24] The website also ranked it as the 15th best hard rock song of the 21st century, praising its "frantic drum patterns, blistering riffs and ... venomous screams".[25]

In January 2002, "Left Behind" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards, alongside "The Wizard" by Black Sabbath, "Disciple" by Slayer, "Chop Suey!" by System of a Down and "Schism" by Tool.[26] The band's bassist Paul Gray commented that "It's cool that we're nominated. I guess it's somewhat of an honor to be nominated. I'm not really worried about if we win or not", adding that he predicted System of a Down would win the award.[27] The Grammy was instead won by Tool for "Schism", the lead single from the band's third full-length studio album Lateralus.[28]

Track listing

All tracks written by Slipknot.

CD single
1."Left Behind"4:04
2."Liberate" (live)4:27
3."Surfacing" (live)5:10
4."Left Behind" (music video)3:43
Total length:17:24
7" vinyl
1."Left Behind"4:04
2."Liberate" (live)4:27
Total length:8:31

Chart positions

Chart (2001) Peak
Australian Singles (ARIA)[19] 97
Scottish Singles (OCC)[21] 22
UK Singles (OCC)[20] 24
UK Rock & Metal Singles (OCC)[22] 5
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[18] 30


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[29] Gold 100,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Bryant, Tom (14 July 2012). "Hell unleashed". Kerrang #1423. p. 23.
  2. ^ "Archive News Jun 21, 2001". June 21, 2001. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  3. ^ "Slipknot: Audiobiography". YouTube. October 22, 2014. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  4. ^ "Mr. Corey Taylor On Left Behind 's Meaning". YouTube. June 1, 2010. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  5. ^ "Archive News Jul 30, 2001". July 30, 2001. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  6. ^ Orshoski, Wes (September 9, 2001). "Emerging from the Middle of 'Iowa': Lead Track Leaked" (Scan). Billboard. Vol. 113 no. 35. New York City, New York: Nielsen Business Media. p. 16. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  7. ^ McIver, Joel (2012). Slipknot: All Hope Is Gone. London, England: Omnibus Press. p. 171. ISBN 978-1780383101. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  8. ^ Sharpe-Young, Garry (2005). New Wave of American Heavy Metal. New Plymouth, New Zealand: Zonda Books. p. 276. ISBN 978-0958268400. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  9. ^ "Slipknot Tour Statistics: 2002". Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  10. ^ "Slipknot Tour Statistics". Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  11. ^ D'Angelo, Joe (July 26, 2001). "Slipknot Set 'Left Behind' As First Iowa Single, Video". MTV. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  12. ^ a b Dauk, Nick (May 9, 2017). "We Rank The Top 10 Slipknot Music Videos of All Time". Metal Injection. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  13. ^ Book, Ryan (August 6, 2014). "A Music Video History of Slipknot: From 'Surfacing' to 'Duality' to 'Psychosocial'". The Music Times. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  14. ^ "Slipknot DVD Artwork Posted Online". October 7, 2002. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  15. ^ Sciarretto, Amy (September 24, 2013). "10 Best Slipknot Videos". Noisecreep. Townsquare Media. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  16. ^ "Slipknot's 10 Most Shocking Music Video Moments". Rock Sound. Freeway Press. October 20, 2014. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  17. ^ "Top Mainstream Rock Songs Chart: The Week of August 25, 2001". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  18. ^ a b "Mainstream Rock Songs: Slipknot Chart History". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  19. ^ a b "The ARIA Report Issue No. 614: Week Commencing 3rd December 2001" (PDF). National Library of Australia. December 3, 2001. Archived from the original on February 21, 2002. Retrieved August 23, 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  20. ^ a b "Slipknot Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  21. ^ a b "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100: 04 November 2001 - 10 November 2001". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  22. ^ a b "Official Rock & Metal Singles Chart Top 40: 04 November 2001 - 10 November 2001". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  23. ^ Wells, Steven (September 12, 2005). "Slipknot: Left Behind". NME. Time Inc. UK. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  24. ^ "10 Best Slipknot Songs". Loudwire. Townsquare Media. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  25. ^ Ramanand, Liz. "No. 15: Slipknot, 'Left Behind' – Top 21st Century Hard Rock Songs". Loudwire. Townsquare Media. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  26. ^ "Complete List Of Grammy Nominees". CBS News. January 4, 2002. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  27. ^ "Slipknot's Paul Gray: "I Know System Of A Down Will Win Grammy"". February 27, 2002. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  28. ^ "Tool Win Grammy For "Best Metal Performance"". February 27, 2002. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  29. ^ "British album certifications – Slipknot – Left Behind". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Left Behind in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External links