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A 50th Birthday Tribute To Axl Rose & Guns n' Roses

Updated on February 27, 2013

Axl's 50th Birthday

6th February 2012 was frontman of Guns n' Roses Axl Rose's 50th birthday. How the time has gone quickly and how the heavy rock music industry has changed since the good old days of the Gunners.

Guns n' Roses found mainstream success after the the releases of their G'N'R Lies EP and their Appetite For Destruction album (1987) which remains one of the finest heavy rock albums to have ever been released. Any heavy rock music fan who doesn't have Appetite For Destruction in their collection should be ashamed of themselves!

Even Mike Clink who produced the album has never been able to achieve that same raw sleazy sound that he managed to attain on the album. In fact, the album was a fairly low budget production and the sound was actually achieved using low-cost instruments and studio equipment, proving that the most professional expensive equipment is not always necessary or the best route to go down.

Single 'Sweet Child O' Mine' springboarded Guns n' Roses into mainstream success and the most significant and successful part of their career in the music industry was about to take off, but it wasn't until the song Paradise City was released that the band really started to gain the true recognition and mainstream exposure that they deserved.

Paradise City was released about the same time that 'Love In An Elevator' by Aerosmith was released, becoming popular with adolescents, and the two tracks both became instantly recognizable hits that were to bring both Guns n' Roses and Aerosmith to the forefront of the music industry.

The Use Your Illusion Days

In the early nineties Guns n' Roses gained commercial success and simultaneously released the albums Use Your Illusion 1 and Use Your Illusion 2. The Gunners embarked upon a huge worldwide tour to promote the releases which saw them becoming the most popular heavy rock band of the time. The band gained more mainstream exposure than Aerosmith, who had been doing what Guns n' Roses were doing since the seventies. In fact, guitarist of Aerosmith Joe Perry was a huge influence on Guns lead guitarist Slash.

The Videos

Guns n' Roses were the only band to show real imagination and creativity with their music videos. Rather than just shooting footage of the band playing their songs, their videos were full of metaphorical representations of the stories the tracks were supposed to portray and each Guns video was a masterpiece within it's own right. Their track 'You Could Be Mine' was featured in The Terminator 2 movie and as a result Arnold Schwarzenegger featured in the music video.

Guns n' Roses went on to release a series of documentary videos entitled Making F***ing Videos showing behind the scenes footage of the music videos being produced. The documentary series was very insightful and shows how hard the band were willing to work in order to make the videos as good as they possibly could be.

The Spaghetti Incident

After the success of the Use Your Illusion releases and world tour, controversy started to arise amongst the band. Rumours started to circulate about Axl and Slash falling out over certain issues regarding the plans for their next album, The Spaghetti Incident. Released in 1994 The Spaghetti Incident was an album of cover versions of punk rock songs that had inspired the band. After recording the lead guitar tracks, Slash later found out that Axl had hired Mike Inez to add further layers of lead guitar to transform Slash's work into "question and answer" type phrasing... without Slash's consent!

After the arguments that arose between them the band split up. It then took Axl Rose a further 13 years to get Guns n' Roses back together and up and running once again.

Chinese Democracy

After 13 years of rumours and leaked material, Guns n' Roses finally released the ever in production album Chinese Democracy featuring no less than three lead guitarists. Slash had been replaced with Buckethead, aka Brian Carrol, who wore a KFC bucket on his head - not exactly a very good gimmick. Although Axl Rose is known to have spent $3 Million on Chinese Democracy the album doesn't stand up to a 13-year wait. However, one thing is certain. Axl is back and is stronger and tougher than before.

Chinese Democracy is only slightly reminiscent of the classic Guns n' Roses everyone remembers and the release has failed to make any significant mainstream success. Having said that, the Guns are a much more modern heavy rock band now and their music has a much more up-to-date industrial edge to it. it's a good album. But it's not the Guns n' Roses that we all know and love.

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