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Guns n’ Roses - Songs That Made Them Famous

Updated on January 10, 2014
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Six Guns n’ Roses Songs That Remain Hard Rock Classics Even Today

Little did anyone know that a band made up of two other Los Angeles based unknown bands would make such a resonating success in the popular music history. Guns n’ Roses had almost everything against them: they liked to party and defy the authority; one can even say that they were 80’s version of punk rockers. But there was one thing that was on their side, and that proved to be the only thing that actually mattered: good music. Even all of the stories you have heard about the band and the members cannot dispute the fact that their music was successful. Whether you want to dabble in those facts or not does not matter, because this article is about their music – more accurately about the songs that made them rise to stardom.

So, whether you believe that Axl Rose is guilty for their long hiatus or Duff and Slash, it does not really matter, because that band when it was together with original members made some hard rock classics which are popular today as they were back then. One of the first songs that any guitarists will learn to play is definitely Sweet Child o’ Mine. The genius and chemistry that drove their music created some timeless hits, which have earned them money, fame and glory. This is not a typical biography article, as it will be solely based on their songs, so you can consider this as a music time machine that will travel through history of this famous US band and present to you some of their biggest hits.

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Welcome to the Jungle

Contrary to the popular belief, fame and success had not come overnight for Guns n’ Roses. After the release of their debut album, Appetite for Destruction, sales were low and Geffen Records were considering dropping the band from the label altogether. Their first single, It’s So Easy, was a flop and did not even enter the US Billboard charts. But someone, somewhere had faith in the band, so a year after the album was released came their first great hit: Welcome to the Jungle. Now, this was an overnight success if there was one. After this song the sales skyrocketed and so did the fame.

Welcome to the Jungle is essentially a song from the people about the people and musically it represents all that is good about hard rock songs. Guns n’ Roses mixed several genres in their music and this song shows how well those combinations worked, from hard riffs to bluesy guitar fills. The controversial lyrics and a frontman that looks like a little girl, plus the heavy rotation of video on MTV brought this single to spot number three on the US Billboard charts and kickstarted rise of Guns n’ Roses to a hard rock act known all over the world.

Sweet Child o’ Mine

Who would have known that a song that was created from an exercise that Slash used for warm up would become a timeless rock anthem. If it were not for Axl Rose, the memorable intro, or even the song itself, would not exist. He noticed Slash playing around on the rehearsals and made the whole band create a song around that exercise. Sweet Child o’ Mine is your typical hard rock ballad, but, of course, with a Guns n’ Roses twist.

Lyrics are about a girl (namely Axl’s former girlfriend and wife) and the music is a bit slower and groovier than in Welcome to the Jungle, but it all lifts in the guitar solo and after the breakdown. This song was deservedly number one hit on the US Billboard charts. It is a slow song which is used by many beginner guitar players as an introduction to basic guitar riffs. There is nothing much really to say about this song that has not been said already. Only thing you can do is go and listen to it and enjoy every single music note that comes out of the speakers.

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Paradise City

Paradise City is one of those timeless fun and party loving songs. It represents the feelgood mood of the 80’s and the memorable heavy riffs make you want to bang your head in the rhythm even if you do not like this kind of music. Paradise City peaked at number five of the US charts and it is definitely one of the most known songs by Guns n’ Roses.

Song itself starts off slow then with a drum hit and a signature whistle sound it kicks off into a groovy riff that just takes you away. A bit of a solo in the middle changes the mind and shortly after the song is back to the main theme. But after the breakdown at 4:40 minute mark, the song takes it a notch up and speeds up entirely. This part is somewhat infamous as it reportedly caused a lot of traffic accidents. Whether you believe the previous statement or not, one fact remains true and that is that this song is a timeless hard rock masterpiece.

You Could Be Mine

What do you get when you combine a famous action star and a famous hard rock band? This song. Guns n’ Roses and Arnold Schwarzenegger were a perfect match for a hit. This song was released as a promotion for the Terminator 2 movie and it is plain why the people that made the movie chose this song to appear in it, as this is one of the heaviest songs that the band produced.

From the beginning and the drum intro this song kicks off into a frenzy that does not stop until the final note. It is a very fast and heavy song that takes you on a ride from beginning to the end where you just want to bang your head and pretend that you are T-800 with a shotgun. Even though it only peaked at number 29 on the charts, it is considered one of the classics as it was a great intro to the upcoming GnR album.

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Don’t Cry

Don’t Cry is another take on hard rock ballads by the band and it is definitely one of the classics known worldwide. It did not have the success that Sweet Child o’ Mine had, but number ten on the US charts is more than enough for this masterpiece. The song talks about a break up, inspired by Axl Roses’ breakup with his wife, the same woman that was the inspiration for their only number one single.

Don’t Cry starts slowly and gradually builds up to a phenomenal guitar solo by Slash. After the solo comes another breakdown and then the song kicks off into the final part. Don’t Cry is filled with heavy emotions musically and contextually, which are translated perfectly to the listener. This alone makes it one of the best hard rock songs ever to be made.

November Rain

A song and video inspired by a short story ended an era for the band. November Rain was the last single by Guns n’ Roses to crack the top ten in the charts, peaking at number three. It is a great emotional song, but one which ultimately was a last hit for the band that rose to fame so quickly. The song tells a story about a loss of a loved person and it is another version of hard rock ballad by Guns n’ Roses.

The song starts with a piano intro and slowly takes a listener on a smooth and slow ride filled with emotional text and music notes. The full orchestra arrangement gives a new feeling to the song, something very different from what the band did normally. November Rain is also iconic for the guitar solo and the representation of it in the video, where you can see Slash with his signature hat and a cigar playing a guitar in front of a church in the middle of nowhere. And, just when you think that the song has ended it picks up the pace and finishes with a bang.

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Outro

Whether you like or hate Guns n’ Roses the fact still remains that they were one of the most successful and popular bands, albeit for a decade. The band is an influence that is cited by many modern rock artists and has produced a great number of classic hard rock hits which are known worldwide. This article was a representation of the band through their songs, something which is very different than your standard biography.

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    • profile image

      rushmaster 3 years ago

      I think that there are a few others that you could say are still classics, but those are all great songs.

    • Thief12 profile image

      Thief12 3 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Great band and great songs. I think I read somewhere that Axl wasn't a huge fan of the song though, hehe.

    • dailytop10 profile image

      dailytop10 3 years ago from Davao City

      My father introduced me to this band and I became a fan ever since. Thanks for sharing!

    • electronician profile image

      Dean Walsh 3 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Great songs, its been too long since I listened to G&R!