Following the worldwide phenomenon of Appetite For Destruction and its acoustic follow-up EP G N’ R Lies, the band took three years to write and record a sequel album that would live up to the enormous hype. Released in September 1991, Use Your Illusion I was the leading volume of the two-album opus that reintroduced Guns N’ Roses to the world. With the addition of new drummer Matt Sorum and keyboardist Dizzy Reed, the band was more fleshed-out and bombastic: the lethal L.A. club band of Appetite For Destruction morphed into a lethal arena band. To prove to the fans of Appetite that they had lost none of their venom, the band devoted most of Use Your Illusion Ito the brand of breakneck bluesy rock’n’roll they featured on their debut. As Axl later explained, “We saw the first half of Use Your Illusion I as more similar to the energy on Appetite For Destruction, and would be a lot more fun to skateboard to.” Though the Illusion albums would become best known for their ballads, songs like “Right Next Door To Hell,” “Perfect Crime,” and “Back Off Bitch” have a sneering, searing power akin to “Welcome to the Jungle” and “It’s So Easy,” while Izzy Stradlin’s “You Ain’t the First” could be an outtake from G N’ R Lies. The unexpected cover of Paul McCartney’s James Bond theme “Live and Let Die” is a perfect fit for the new group, while the lumbering, bluesy grooves of “Bad Obsession” and Stradlin’s “Dust N’ Bones” couldn’t have developed without Reed’s piano licks and Sorum’s lashing drum work. Of course, it was Axl’s unforgettable ballads that stole show and won the band a whole new set of fans. “Don’t Cry” and “November Rain” were older demos of Axl’s that only came to fruition when the band acquired the means to enlarge them to the desired proportions. The dark water mood of “Don’t Cry” perfectly bridges the seedy Hollywood sound of Appetite with the band’s newfound stadium thunder, while “November Rain” — in all its ornate, effluent glory — is bombastic, bittersweet, and utterly lovely. Against all odds, Axl came away with the timeless ballad he always wanted.