Today we’re taking a look at Guns N’ Roses and I’m giving my top songs from their Studio albums.
Guns N’ Roses are a hard rock band formed in 1985 Los Angeles, California. There was some chopping & changing of members in the beginning until what is considered the classic GnR lineup was established. Featuring Axl Rose on vocals, Slash on lead guitar, Izzy Stradlin on rhythm guitar, Duff McKagan on bass & Steven Adler on drums.
The majority of the bands output appeared before 1994 with only 1 album having been released in the last 25 years. For a band that is active that’s quite a feat. By 2016 Slash & Duff rejoined the band & the subsequent “Not in This Lifetime… Tour” that followed would become the second-highest-grossing concert tour of all time. The tour was also the 1st time Axl, Slash & Duff had shared a stage in 23 years.
Guns N’ Roses Albums
Appetite for Destruction (1987)
Rating: (4.5 / 5)
Key songs: Sweet Child O’ Mine, Paradise City, Welcome to the Jungle
It was during the recording of this album that a frustrated Slash found his signature guitar sound when he was gifted a 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard replica.
Ranking this I’d say this belongs 1st. This album achieved so much taking the band from nothing to World domination.
G N’ R Lies (1988)
Rating: (3.8 / 5)
Key songs: One In A Million, Patience
The 4 new songs on this album are more acoustic/electro-acoustic sounding. The version of “Crazy” on this is an acoustic version of the same song from their debut. The 2 choices below see Axl opening both songs with Whistling intros which is a nice touch & not many bands pull it off so well. Think Scorpions “Wind of change”, The Clash “Jimmy Jazz” to name a couple of well-known ones.
Ranking this album I’d put it last! It’s not that it’s a bad album, it’s more like 2 EPs combined. Just the shortage of material is why it’s ranked last.
Use Your Illusion I (1991)
Rating: (4.2 / 5)
Key songs: Live And Let Die, November Rain, Back Off Bitch, Don’t Damn Me
A number of the songs on this album were written in the bands earlier years & for the 1st time, there are songs sung by other members of the group, namely Izzy Stradlin who sings on 3. Izzy would leave the group during the touring of UYI. The 1st choice below is a cover of the famous Wings song “Live And Let Die” written by Paul & Linda McCartney. The song did well for Guns N’ Roses winning them an award for best hard rock performance.
Notable songs “November Rain” which clocks in at around 9 minutes & is easily one of Guns N’ Roses most popular songs. The songs music video was the 1st to receive one billion views on YouTube. The final song on this album is “Coma” which is also the bands longest song & is about members of the group and their drug overdose experiences.
Ranking this album, I’d place it 2nd overall. It’s closer to Appetite For Destruction in terms of how hard it rocks.
Use Your Illusion II (1991)
Rating: (4 / 5)
Key songs: Civil War, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Estranged, You Could Be Mine
One song which makes an appearance from the 1st UYI album is “Don’t Cry” but featuring alternative lyrics. Elsewhere on here, you’ll find Duff McKagan on vocal duties on “So Fine” & Izzy Stradlin on “Pretty Tied Up”.
Between the 2 albums I & II recording/mixing took roughly 20 months partly due to the 1st mixes being scrapped and starting over with new engineer Bill Price who had previously worked with the Sex Pistols.
Overall this album takes 3rd place.
The Spaghetti Incident? (1993)
Rating: (3.6 / 5)
Key songs: Since I Don’t Have You, Down On The Farm, Human Being, Ain’t It Fun
On my choices below, “Since I Don’t Have You” originally by The Skyliners is what I would call a perfect cover song. If you’re going to cover songs you have to do it better really & this doesn’t disappoint. On “Ain’t It Fun” originally by Rocket from the Tombs Slash’s guitar intro is one of the best I’ve heard him do. “Down On The Farm” is just simply a song I’ve always loved from the 1st moment I heard it even though I’d never heard the original U.K. Subs version.
Ranking this, this one belongs 5th. A few of the covers are a bit iffy but overall it’s well worth getting acquainted with.
Chinese Democracy (2008)
Rating: (3.8 / 5)
Key songs: Shackler’s Revenge, Catcher In The Rye
In 1999 guitarist, Brian May of the band Queen recorded lead guitar for “Catcher in the Rye”, but his performances were cut for whatever reason. This is a shame given GnR played at Freddie Mercury’s (Queen’s lead singer who died of AIDS in 1991) tribute concert in 92 & there’s somewhat of a history there. It’s still a great song but knowing he was playing on it would have meant a lot more to me.
If I was to rank this overall in their back catalogue I’d place this 4th. It has its moments but it’s not consistent.
There have been stories of potential new material in the future but whether it will happen in our lifetimes is anybody’s guess! We are after all talking about a band that has only put out 1 album in the last 25 years. Honestly, I don’t think new material would take anywhere near the amount of time Chinese Democracy took to create as they seem like a well-oiled machine once again since Slash & Duff rejoined in 2016.
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