"18 and Life" is the second single from Skid Row's 1989 eponymous debut album. The band's first power ballad single, it was written by bandmates Rachel Bolan and Dave "the Snake" Sabo.
The song was to be the band's biggest hit, reaching #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, but only reaching #11 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, which was previously their biggest market. It was named the 60th best hard rock song of all time by VH1. It was certified Gold on September 13, 1989, when it sold 500,000 copies.
The song was written by Dave Sabo after he read a newspaper article about an 18 year old named Ricky who was sentenced to life imprisonment for shooting and killing somebody with a gun he thought was unloaded.
This song also appears on Skid Row's greatest hits compilation, 40 Seasons: The Best of Skid Row. Lead singer of Skid Row, Sebastian Bach, released a live version of this on his solo album Bring 'Em Bach Alive!. It is also a playable song on the video game Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s.
Ricky was a young boy, he had a heart of stone.
Lived 9 to 5 and worked his fingers to the bone.
Just barely got out of school, came from the edge of town.
Fought like a switchblade so no one could take him down.
He had no money, oooh no good at home.
He walked the streets a soldier and he fought the world alone
And now its
18 and life you got it
18 and life you know
Your crime is time and its
18 and life to go
Tequila in his heartbeat, his veins burned gasoline.
It kept his motor running but it never kept him clean.
They say he loved adventure, rickys the wild one.
He married trouble and had a courtship with a gun.
Bang bang shoot em up, the party never ends.
You cant think of dying when the bottles your best friend
And now its
Accidents will happen they all heard ricky say
He fired his six-shot to the wind that blew a child away.