Guns N’ Roses
Guns N’ Roses was one the biggest bands to come out of the 80’s. The categorization of Guns N’ Roses has varied from hard rock, glam metal, and root metal. The bands biggest hits included “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Paradise City,” “November Rain,” “Don’t Cry,” “Patience,” and “You Could Be Mine.” Unlike other bands of the era, Guns N’ Roses differentiated themselves with their sound, look, and attitude, which all were revolutionary at the time of the release of their debut album, Appetite for Destruction. The original lineup of Guns N’ Roses consisted of Axl Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin, and Steven Adler.
Songs from Use Your Illusion, GN’R Lies, and Appetite for Destruction receive extensive radio airplay today, and have influenced bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Black Label Society, Skid Row, and Stone Sour.
Appetite for Destruction
When Appetite for Destruction was released, the musical landscape of rock was huge hair, formulaic pop metal ballads, and an archaic copycat environment that was becoming downright boring. Like an animal with a bright light being shone in its eyeballs, the public was met with shock as we first heard the opening riff to “Welcome to the Jungle,” and Axl Rose’s famous lines “You know where you are? You’re in the jungle baby, you’re gonna die!”
Guns N’ Roses, in 1987, reawakened the rock world with Appetite for Destruction, and it hasn’t been the same since. It took a “Nirvana” to finally break the walls down of hair band repitition, but GN’R, in the same spirit, were just rock and roll – no frills, no formula, no cheese, just great songwriting, heaviness, inspiration and determination.
G N’R Lies
G N’R Lies was the second album by Guns N’ Roses to be released in the 80’s. It’s actually a compilation of two albums: Live Like a Suicide, which is live recordings of the band from before the release of Appetite for Destruction, and four new songs… sort of. “You’re Crazy” was previously released on Appetite for Destruction as a faster electric version. This slower tempo version is acoustic, and is the original version of the song.
Use Your Illusion I
During the course of the recording process for Use Your Illusion I & II, drummer Steven Adler was publicly fired for drug use by Axl Rose. He was the first member of the original lineup to have left the band. Drummer Matt Sorum was brought in to fill in on drum duties.
Use Your Illusion I and II topped the charts at the time of their release in 1991. Give these albums a listen back to back with Appetite for Destruction and you can hear a lot of changes stylistically. Horns, pianos, ballads and overall longer tracks can be heard on the Use Your Illusion albums. The list of studio musicians for Use Your Illusion was also enormous, and permanent player Dizzy Reed was added to the lineup.
Use Your Illusion II
Of the two Use Your Illusion albums, this one was slightly higher charting (#1) and sold more. Use Your Illusion II contains the massive hit “You Could Be Mine,” as well as “Estranged” and Bob Dylan cover “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”. Not only does the album feature lead vocals by Axl, but two classic GN’R tracks, “14 Years” and “So Fine” are sung by Izzy Stradlin and Duff McKagan respectively. Overall, the tempo of “II” is a littlle faster than I. The album had the singles “Civil War,” “Knockin on Heaven’s Door,” “Yesterdays,” “Estranged,” and “You Could Be Mine,” but you may have heard favorites “Pretty Tied Up” and “Locomotive” on your local radio stations from time to time. A second version of “Don’t Cry with alternate lyrics was also released on the album.
The band embarked on the longest rock tour in history at 28 months long.
In the midst of the promotion for Use Your Illusion, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin quit the band abruptly. He was replaced by Gilby Clarke.
“The Spaghetti Incident?”
Mostly covers, this is the last studio recording of Guns N’ Roses (the original band) in an album format. “The Spaghetti Incident?” covers songs from the UK Subs, Soundgarden, The Sex Pistols, The Stooges, Misfits, the New York Dolls, and even Charles Manson. The album was markedly lower charting than the band’s previous efforts. There was also only one music video released for the album, for “Since I Don’t Have You.” It would prove to the be the last studio album for Slash, Matt Sorum, and Duff McKagan in Guns N’ Roses, and Gilby Clarke’s only album with GN’R. In 1994, the band recorded a cover of The Rolling Stones “Sympathy for the Devil,” which appeared on the Interview with the Vampire Soundtrack. It proved to be their last recording together.
Following the release of “The Spaghetti Incident?”, released in 1993, the band was having internal strife caused by members leaving, their replacements, and band member’s behavior. During the recording of “Sympathy for the Devil,” Rose brought in guitarist Paul Huge (Tobias) to fill in for Clarke, who left following the release of his solo album Pawnshop Guitars. Slash objected to Paul Tobias’ involvement in the band, and quit in October 1996, being replaced by Robin Finck. Sorum was subsequently fired in April 1997, and McKagan quit in August 1997. McKagan’s permanent replacement was Replacement’s guitarist Tommy Stinson.
Work began on Chinese Democracy in 1994, while Slash, Duff, and Sorum were still in the band. The album cost over $13 million in studio time when finally released on November 22, 2008, marking 17 years since their last studio album of original material. The band embarked on tours throughout 2008-2013 to promote Chinese Democracy, including a residency at Las Vegas.
The band were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, with all former band members of the Appetite for Destruction lineup present except for Rose and Stradlin. The band performed instead with Myles Kennedy, playing classic songs from Appetite for Destruction.
Rose and other band members of the “New” Guns N’ Roses lineup have stated that there is enough material for a follow up album for Chinese Democracy, which was originally intended as a trilogy by Rose.
- Appetite For Destruction (1987)
- G N’ R Lies (1988)
- Use Your Illusion I (1991)
- Use Your Illusion II (1991)
- “The Spaghetti Incident?” (1993)
- Live Era ’87-’93 (1999)
- Chinese Democracy (2008)
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