What do you get when you mix L.A. Guns with Hollywood Rose?
Guns N’ Roses, often abbreviated as GNR, is an American hard rock band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 1985. When they signed to Geffen Records in 1986, the band comprised vocalist Axl Rose, lead guitarist Slash, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Steven Adler.
Guns N’ Roses’ released their debut album, Appetite for Destruction, in1987. The album reached number one on the Billboard 200 a year after its release based on the performance of three top 10 singles, “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Paradise City,” and “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” GNR’s only single to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Appetite for Destruction sold approximately 30 million copies worldwide, including 18 million units in the United States, making it the country’s bestselling debut album and the eleventh-bestselling album overall.
Welcome to the Jungle
Comprised of members from two other area bands, the L.A. Guns and Hollywood Rose, the newly formed band soon added Slash, a former Hollywood Rose guitarist playing with a band called Road Crew. From the beginning, the band’s wildly hedonistic ways and rebellious attitude soon earned them the nickname “the most dangerous band in the world.”
Patience (Live in Tokyo)
The band’s classic lineup, along with later members Reed and drummer Matt Sorum, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, GNR’s first year of eligibility. Guns N’ Roses sold more than 100 million records worldwide, including 45 million in the United States, making them one of the best-selling acts in rock history.
Group guitarists Slash and Izzy Stradlin wrote Mr. Brownstone while sitting around Izzy’s apartment commiserating over their addictions to heroin, for which “Brownstone” is a slang term.
The song’s lyrics make a clear reference to the “tolerance” that users build-up to the drug: “I used to do a little, but a little wouldn’t do, so the little got more and more.” The two wrote the lyrics to the song on the back of a grocery bag and later showed it to Axl Rose. Slash later stated the lyrics described a typical day in either his or Stradlin’s lives.
As is so often the case, when amazing musical talent and egos get involved, success can be short-lived. Guns N’ Roses is no exception. Arguments begin, tempers explode, and bands fall apart. While GNR is still around, it is just not the same as during their amazing run during the 1980s. Too many line-up changes and bad feelings make things hard even when the original members come back together.
The real difference for me is that Guns n’ Roses were simply more genuine than most of their heavy-metal peers (kind of like Janis Joplin in that regard).
Rolling Stone contributor Rob Tannenbaum calls the GNR “the world’s most exciting hard-rock band … young, foolhardy, stubborn, cynical, proud, uncompromising, insolent, conflicted and very candid about their faults.”
Yes, they were reckless kids who somehow fell into a rock and roll career. And yes, they were often so out of control that you can’t help but believe the most scandalous stories. They were crazy enough to try and live out every rock-and-roll cliche under the sun.
But despite all that, they were also talented enough to turn out amazing music filled with that same 110-proof energy they powered their lives with.
Guns N’ Roses with a very special guest!
Every member of this band brought amazing musical talent to their efforts. Axl Rose is said by many to be one of the greatest rock and roll band front-men of all time. Personally, I was always amazed by the versatility and range of his voice. And let’s not forget his piano and whistling skills!
Slash is simply a phenomenal guitar player and sits at the top of the pile with Jimmy Page, Randy Rhoads, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, and Joe Bonamassa. And, according to an interview I watched, he has been clean and sober for some time now.
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2 thoughts on “Tunes for Tuesday: It’s all fun and games …”
As you may know, I’m a huge Guns fan. In fact, they are my favorite band of all time. I’ll never forget when I first heard them, on an old Sony Walkman cassette player on a bus as a 6th or 7th grader (’87 probably). I had a friend who loved them and said you gotta listen to this band. We listened to the entire Appetite album and it blew my mind! Talk about rebels, these dudes were bad ass. There will never be anything like them again. As you said, they were “genuine”.
In 2016 I had the privilege of fulfilling a lifelong dream by seeing them in concert at Soldier Field, you know, the “Not in this Lifetime” Tour. It truly was a once in a lifetime event. I’ll never forget it.
Thanks for the writeup and for including all those awesome videos.
PS Remember this post from a few years ago? It’s funny to look back at now.
Hey Reid, No, I was not aware that you were a huge GNR fan. That is great and I am so glad you enjoyed the post. They were indeed genuine … like some of the earlier rock bands … and stood out because of it. So many of the 80s bands and later years were just way too commercial. Doesn’t mean they weren’t good, but they wrote songs they thought the fans wanted to hear … rather than what they really wanted to express.
And yes, I do remember and that was a great post …