Guns N' Roses

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About Guns N' Roses

The qualities that make Guns N’ Roses so divisive—the public altercations, the controversial outbursts, the scandalous decadence—are also the things that make them so captivating. After all, rock fans passionately embraced the collision of ’70s hard rock, heavy metal, and punk captured on GNR’s 1987 debut, Appetite for Destruction, precisely because it exuded a gritty, dangerous vibe light years removed from the glossy hair bands of the day. “Welcome to the Jungle” may be a fantastic air-guitar jam, yet it is also an enraged dispatch from the seedy back alleys of the American Dream. Even “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” an uplifting ballad at first, ultimately drowns in singer Axl Rose’s self-doubt. It was only natural, then, that stardom would prove tumultuous for a fast-living GNR who rode wave upon wave of controversy and turmoil. Yet they only grew more ambitious. While Slash still unloads plenty of Stonesy riffs on 1991’s Use Your Illusion I and II, the albums’ cornerstones are epic psychodramas such as “November Rain” that reflect Rose’s love of Queen’s grandiosity. Another album of original material wouldn’t surface until 2008’s Chinese Democracy. By then, however, GNR essentially was a solo project for Rose, who made a hard turn into seething industrial rock. With hopes for any kind of reunion of the original lineup all but extinguished, Slash and bassist Duff McKagan shocked fans by announcing their return to the fold in 2016. In addition to headlining Coachella, they embarked on a world tour that became one of the highest grossing of the decade, a fact that speaks to GNR’s legacy as one of the most popular, if also most contentious, bands in the entire history of rock.

Los Angeles, CA, United States
March 1985
Hard Rock
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