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|Single by Slipknot|
|from the album Iowa|
|Released||October 29, 2001|
|Slipknot singles chronology|
"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.
"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."
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". 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."
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."
Prior to its official release, "Left Behind" (along with "People = Shit") was leaked online and made available for digital download in July 2001. 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. The song was released as a single on October 29, featuring live versions of Slipknot tracks "Liberate" and "Surfacing" as B-sides. "Left Behind" was performed regularly on tour in 2002, and according to set list aggregation website Setlist.fm is the fourth most frequently-performed song from Iowa, behind "People = Shit", "Disasterpiece" and "The Heretic Anthem".
The music video for "Left Behind" was directed by Dave Meyers and filmed in Los Angeles, California on August 1 and 2, 2001. 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". 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." The director's cut of the "Left Behind" music video was featured on the band's second video album Disasterpieces, released in November 2002.
"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. 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". 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".
"Left Behind" debuted at number 37 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. It spent a total of ten weeks on the chart and peaked at number 30. Outside of the United States, the song reached number 97 on the Australian Singles Chart, number 24 on the UK Singles Chart, number 22 on the Scottish Singles Chart, and number 5 on the UK Rock & Metal Singles Chart.
"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". 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". 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".
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. 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. The Grammy was instead won by Tool for "Schism", the lead single from the band's third full-length studio album Lateralus.
All tracks written by Slipknot.
|4.||"Left Behind" (music video)||3:43|
|Australian Singles (ARIA)||97|
|Scottish Singles (OCC)||22|
|UK Singles (OCC)||24|
|UK Rock & Metal Singles (OCC)||5|
|US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)||30|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone