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Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction Album Review

Updated on April 19, 2013

The Best Album by Guns N' Roses - the 1987 Debut Classic: Appetite for Destruction

The debut album by Guns N' Roses is cited as one of the most influential rock records ever recorded. Appetite for Destruction is one of those albums you can leave in the CD player (or if you're lucky enough to have vinyl, a record player) and let it play continuously without skipping a single track. Each track is especially raw, mean, and spirited, with refreshing guitars, unrestrained rock rhythm, and the piercing vocals of Axl Rose. From the album, the singles "Paradise City," "Sweet Child O' Mine," and "Welcome to the Jungle" were released, all becoming gigantic rock radio anthems. Other album tracks like "Nightrain," "Mr. Brownstone," and "Rocket Queen" still receive regular airplay and are part of the live act by the new Guns N' Roses band.

The band members on Appetite for Destruction were Axl Rose (vocals), Slash (lead guitar), Duff McKagan (bass), Izzy Stradlin (guitar), and Steven Adler (drums). This classic lineup is long sought after by fans hoping for a Guns N' Roses reunion. The five band members together produced an unparalleled rock sound that changed the landscape of music as we know it. The band definitely left their mark.

welcome to the jungle
welcome to the jungle

Welcome to the Jungle

You in the jungle, baby! You gonna dieeeeeeeee!

This is the opening track from the Appetite for Destruction disc, and arguably the most well known. It's been the concert opener for many shows because of its ominous, destructive opening riff, while Axl wails in the background.

The video for the song was a big hit, with Axl having big hair back in that video (the only one in which he did). As he get off the bus, presumably from Indiana where he grew up, Axl looked out of place in the concrete jungle. In 2009, the song was rated the #1 hard rock song of all time by VH1. The song is certainly influential, and still seems fresh to this day, no matter how many times you hear it.

Most of the songs on Appetite for Destruction were recorded in a day or less. The album went on to spawn 7 radio hits and is fast approaching double diamond selling status.

Buy Appetite for Destruction - Own the album that changed rock music forever!

Hard, heavy, raw, and nonconformist, Appetite provided fresh, much needed rock to the dying landscape of glam and hair metal in the late 80's. Music like Bon Jovi, Ratt, and Poison ruled the era, all of which had a pop metal sound that was beginning to become very cookie cutter. That all changed with Guns N' Roses. Setting up the Seattle invasion that would happen just a few years later, Appetite made big hair, glitter, and power ballads seem utterly foolish. Sure, it was okay to be excessive, but let's remember this is rock n' roll, not pop music. The album can be likened to the Beatles changing the rock n' roll scene in 1963, or Nirvana's Nevermind in 1991. It had that big of an impact. Will we ever see a band that has had such an influence on music as Guns N' Roses had with this album? The world is still waiting. Until then, enjoy the still raw, still fresh sounds of Appetite for Destruction.

Appetite For Destruction [Explicit]
Appetite For Destruction [Explicit]

With over 18 million people owning this album, are there really any dissatisified listeners amongst them? If you don't own this album, do yourself the favor and buy a copy. It should be in any hard rock fan's music library. So what are you waiting for?

 

Vote For Your Favorite Song from the Album - Which track made you a GN'R fan?

Which track from Appetite for Destruction is your favorite?

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It's So Easy

Garage rock classic, track 2 from Appetite for Destruction

Following Welcome to the Jungle, It's So Easy was a song written by Duff McKagan and West Arkeen. Though most people think that "Welcome to the Jungle" was the first song released as single from the album, it was actually "It's So Easy" in 1987. The song wasn't met with much success, but remains a live staple to this day with the new incarnation of GN'R. The video for the song was also not included in rotation on MTV.

It's So Easy Original Video - Unreleased video from the album - the first true single

Nightrain was released as single in 1989, well after most of the other songs had become successful. It was the final single released from the album, which helped boost sales to multi platinum status. To date, the album has sold over 18 million copies. The song is about a night out drinking the cheap California wine, Night Train Express. The song was improvised after a night of drinking by the band and was recorded in a day. Slash had this to say in his 2007 autobiography about the song:

"That song has a rhythm to it in the verses that from the start always made me go crazy. The first time we played it, even, I started jumping up and down - I couldn't help it. When we had our huge stage later on, I'd run the length of it, jump off the amplifiers, and lose it just about every single time we played it. I'm not sure why, but no other song we've ever played live made me move like that."

Out Ta Get Me

Axl screams about aggression and paranoia set in after drinking

If you listened to the lyrics of Out Ta Get Me, you would assume they were written by a very paranoid, motivated person. Written by Izzy Stadlin and Axl Rose, the song has the chorus of:

They're out ta get me

They won't catch me

I'm innocent

They won't break me

The lyrics are suggestive of the implications of drinking, and the paranoia that can ensue from your own actions.

Mr. Brownstone

Heroin addiction and a Bo Diddley beat

Heroin was just starting to creep into the consciousness of the rock world in the late 80's before making its full fledged "comeback" in the grunge era of music. Having plenty of experience with the addictive drug, Slash and Izzy Stradlin co-wrote the song Mr. Brownstone based on their drug use. Later, Slash's drug use would turn near deadly, causing cardiac arrest and the urgent need for pacemaker surgery in the 90's.

Mr. Brownstone was released as a single in the UK, but is played on rock radio stations on a regular basis. It has also been played at most Guns N' Roses shows. The song is said to have a Bo Diddley inspired beat throughout the song.

Slash Autobiography - Slash tells all in his gut dumping autobiography book

Slash holds back nothing in his autobiography released in 2007. From his days prior to joining GN'R wandering the streets of Los Angeles to the success of Guns N' Roses, this bluesy guitarist has led an interesting life that he has chronicled fully in this tell all book. His relationship with Axl, origins of songs, current status with other band members, and great photos of the band are included. If you're a fan of Guns N' Roses, you won't be disappointed by the stories of excess and recovery, as well as learning what makes one of rock's all time greatest guitarists tick.

Slash
Slash

“Wonderfully frank.” (Entertainment Weekly )

“Entertaining and educational...a crash course for aspiring rock gods.”” (Spin magazine )

 
paradise city
paradise city

Paradise City

Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty!

Oh won't ya...take me home!! This is one of the most recognizable songs on the Appetite for Destruction album. The main guitar riff was even air guitared by Beavis and Butt-Head themselves (quite the honor). This is one of the most played songs by the band on radio, and also one of the most played live songs by the band members solo projects. Slash's touring band for his solo project regularly plays the song with Myles Kennedy (formerly of Alterbridge). A recorded version of the song with Fergie singing vocals was also released featuring Cypress Hill and Slash.

The video for the song featured the band playing live at Giants Stadium in 1988. It was the only song on the album to feature a synthesizer, and has some of the greatest guitar solos Slash has recorded. It frequently ends most Guns N' Roses live shows, and was played by the band as as surprise appearance at the 2002 VMA Awards, debuting new guitarist (who has since left), Buckethead.

Seen right: Appetite for Destruction Fabric Poster

The song My Michelle, which also receives modest airplay on rock radio, was written about a friend of the band, Michelle Young, who was in a relationship with Axl Rose. At first written as a romantic nod to the girl, it was rewritten to be a more honest tale of the girl's heroin addiction, father that worked in the pornography industry, and overall drama of her lifestyle.

The controversial lyrics of the song read:

Your daddy works in porno

Now that mommy's not around

She used to love her heroin

But now she's underground

So you stay out late at night

And you do your coke for free

Drivin' your friends crazy

With your life's insanity

Appetite for Destruction Memorabilia - T-Shirts, kechains, and products featuring GN'R's classic debut album

Bravado Men's Guns N' Roses Cross T-Shirt
Bravado Men's Guns N' Roses Cross T-Shirt

Wearing this shirt is like saying "I'm into rock." The classic album cover art is instantly recognizable if you like rock, and features the band members with cross artwork in the background.

 
Guns N' Roses - Welcome to the Videos (Keep Case)
Guns N' Roses - Welcome to the Videos (Keep Case)

Featuring the videos from the Appetite album, as well as from Lies, Use Your Illusion.

 

Think About You

Izzy Stradlin penned Guns N' Roses classic

Written by guitarist Izzy Stradlin, this song also featured a solo by Izzy instead of Slash. It is a fast paced love song, one of the few on the album. It was never released as a single, nor played often live, but is one of the true classic tracks on the album. The rapid change of pace towards the end of the song suggests the relationship sung about in the song may not have turned out so lovey dovey after all.

Who Is Responsible for the "Appetite" Sound? - Did someone contribute more to the sound more than everyone else?

You can't argue that Appetite has a sound all its own, that even Slash has said he can't replicate with his own guitar in the same room. It was a one time thing that will never be recreated. There's Axl's raw vocals, Slash's unrivaled guitar, Duff McKagan's thundering cadence, Izzy Stradlin's steadfast rhythm, and Steven Adler's signature percussion that made the album such a unique sound. Combine them all together, and you have one of the best rock albums ever written, without question or hesitation. Did one person contribute more to the sound of Appetite than anyone else? Vote in the poll below:

Which band member do you think contributed the most to the Appetite for Destruction sound found on this album?

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sweet child o' mine
sweet child o' mine

Sweet Child O' Mine

Where do we go now?

The third single released by the band, which was released in 1988, hit #1 on the billboard singles chart. The video was also a massive success on MTV. The radio version often was edited to exclude Slash's guitar solo, which arguably is the best part of the song, right after the breakdown. The song came about during a rehearsal in which Slash, Duff, Adler, and Izzy were fooling around playing guitar. Upstairs, Axl was writing lyrics to a song about his girlfriend of the time, Erin Everly. Axl asked Slash to play the riff again, and the rest of the song evolved from there. What was initially meant to be just an album filler became their biggest hit to date, and their only #1 single.

The Making of the Sweet Child O' Mine Video - Lars Ulrich and produce

This song was released in two incarnations by Guns N' Roses. This version was the faster electric guitar version. The second version was released on Lies as a slowed down acoustic version. They sound worlds apart, but have the same core message and identical lyrics. "You don't want my love... you want satisfaction. You don't need my love.. you've got to...find yourself another piece of the action."

Steven Adler Autobiography Book - My Appetite for Destruction - Sex, Drugs, and Guns N' Roses

Drummer Steven Adler has had his share of ups and downs. While Adler first was acquainted with the band by meeting Slash early on in life in California, he decided to take up the drums and live the rock n' roll dream. He had massive success with Guns N' Roses, but was plagued with severe drug problems, eventually (and embarassingly) being kicked out of the band by Axl Rose to an audience of millions. Adler had a quick descent into the world of drugs, to which he never recovered, even after suffering a stroke, until receiving the help of drug specialists - namely Dr. Drew Pinsky. His recovery is truly one of the most inspiring in rock, with his sobriety allowing him to start the band "Adler's Appetite" with Chipz Enuff.

My Appetite for Destruction: Sex, and Drugs, and Guns N’ Roses
My Appetite for Destruction: Sex, and Drugs, and Guns N’ Roses

After forty years, twenty-eight ODs, three botched suicides, two heart attacks, a couple of jail stints, and a debilitating stroke, Steven Adler, the most self-destructive rock star ever, is ready to share the shattering untold truth in My Appetite for Destruction.

 

Anything Goes

Sex driven anthem done as only GN'R can do

My way, you're way, anything goes tonight! This song is a little vapid lyrically, but does show the mentality that the 80's incited. The times were anything goes, and the song, appropriately enough, was entitled Anything Goes. Much like the rest of the album, this track doesn't hold back one iota.

rocket queen
rocket queen

Rocket Queen

Tongue like a razor - a sweet switchblade knife

The pounding opening McKagan bass line of Rocket Queen are great on Appetite for Destruction. The riff was written by Duff and Slash prior to joining Guns N' Roses. The song is notable for its mid-song breakdown which features a girl moaning and screaming during sex. To record the vocals, a girl was brought in to the studio to record the moaning and had sex with Axl Rose. That girl was actually an on-off girlfriend of drummer Steven Adler.

The First 50 GN'R Gigs from the Sunset Strip - GN'R Appetite Video

Clips, photos, and more, along with Slash talking about the making of GN'R, how they were discovered, and how the album influences rock even today.

Other Classic Guns N' Roses Albums - Classic from the back catalog

More Guns N' Roses Solo Projects and Inspirations - Band members side projects, solo CD's and more

Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Guns N' Roses
Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Guns N' Roses

The soothing sounds of... Guns N' Roses? Yes, finally something tolerable to listen to when you're trying to get your baby to bed, these tunes quietly rock without your baby knowing it.

 
Slash
Slash

The long awaited solo album by Slash was released in 2010 and features Ozzy, Kid Rock, Chris Cornell,Dave Grohl, and more friends of Slash.

 
It's Five O'Clock Somewhere
It's Five O'Clock Somewhere

This album is the next best thing to a GN'R album that we'll ever see. The songs were originally meant to be written as the follow up to The Spaghetti Incident, but were rejected by Axl. Slash went on to record them with this band, featuring Eric Dover on vocals and much of the GN'R lineup behind him.

 
117ø
117ø

This is one of the most hailed solo projects by any band member. 117 is available only as an import, but is worth the money.

 
Sick
Sick

Loaded is Duff McKagan's side project from Velvet Revolver. This album has received great reviews from fans.

 

More Appetite for Destruction Reviews - Read other reviews by magazines and metal websites

There are thousands of reviews of this much acclaimed classic debut, but here are some of the best:

Everyone has a particular track they really like on this album above all of the others (while most of us like every single track, we tend to get attached to one in particular). Is it the opening bass line of "Rocket Queen" that led you to love the band, or the unmistakable introduction on guitar by Slash of "Welcome to the Jungle" that paved the path for success of the band?

What's Your Favorite Track Off of Appetite for Destruction (and Why)? - Tell us about your favorite song, and what you like about it!

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    • MusicFan57 profile image

      MusicFan57 5 years ago

      Awesome lens and one of the best debut albums of all time!

    • fbaum818 profile image

      fbaum818 6 years ago

      Great lens! Appetite for Destruction is a classic. I have to say that Mr. Brownstone is my favorite.

    • profile image

      Cyberspace LM 6 years ago

      After all these years this album is still one of my favorites of all time. I had it on the tape and listened it so many times that the tape got broken in the end as did the second and the third tape! After the fourth tape got broken I finally got it on CD:) It must be LOVE!

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 6 years ago

      This is the album that ushered out the hair bands and brought forth the transition into the alternative & grunge era...Love it! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      My favorite track over the years became rocket queen, but welcome to the jungle through the video was my first exposure to them, the sound and the visual was mind bending for 15 year old kid, completely blew the poser glam bands out of the water. this was serious music , and high quality hard rock.

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image

      VarietyWriter2 6 years ago

      Brings back a lot of memories? Thumbs up!