Before Guns N’ Roses emerged, bands like KISS and Bon Jovi were rock fan favourites but, as Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose pointed out in a 1988 interview ‘their (KISS) music is like second fiddle to their other desires, our music comes first.’ KISS’ selling point was their unique makeup look. Guns N’ Roses did not care about their public image, helping them gain the nickname ‘the most dangerous band in the world’.
Appetite For Destruction was released July 21 1987. Whilst it was not an immediate success, it features songs now universally known, such as the ballad ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ or the head banger ‘Paradise City.’ Songs that are now immediately associated with Guns N’ Roses and the hard rock scene. From the moment the opening track begins you know you are in for a wild time; the opening riff to ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ is an instant hair raising moment. Slash‘s guitar riff is aggressive and in your face, Axl’s scream is equally as powerful and iconic. This combination outlines the first of many times this duo will make you realise how lucky the world is that their two paths crossed. ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ deals with the shady nature of Los Angeles. ‘Out Ta Get Me’ is the equivalent of sticking your middle finger up to the people you despise; Rose dedicated this song in 1988 to ‘the people that try to hold you back.’ Its thunderous nature makes you feel like you can take on the world. ‘Mr. Brownstone’ deals with heroin abuse and its impact on the band in their early days, leading Rose to publicly shame his bandmates in 1989, hoping it would help them get off the drug.
What separates this album from the rest of its era is not only the songs, but the context of them individually and the album creation as a whole. Guns N’ Roses were not concerned with their image or brand. These songs were based on true to life experiences, both good and bad. Guns N’ Roses went through living hell just to get to their concerts, like hitchhiking across America just to play the shows in front of a small crowd. Money was sparse amongst the group, making their hunger to be successful unmatched within the rock community; sleeping in any place they could stay and not knowing where the next meal would come from is what turned these five musicians into inseparable brothers.
Upon its release, Appetite for Destruction was not popular. It barely cracked the top 200 on album charts. Their fate changed forever when finally after rejecting it for so long, MTV agreed to play the music video for ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ at around 4am one night. In classic Guns N’ Roses fashion, the police were called whilst they partied to celebrate, however all that was found was a bunch of young adult men sitting on a couch waiting for their video with cookies and milk. MTV’s phone was flooded with requests for ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ after this one showing. This paved the way for the most dangerous band in the world to have the most successful debut album of all time.
Guns N’ Roses Appetite For Destruction is available to listen to now via UMG Recordings. Check out ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ down below.