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“Appetite for Destruction” 30 years

A review of Guns N’ Roses debut album in honor of its 30th anniversary.

DESTRUCTIVE+DEBUT%3A+Guns+N%27+Roses%27+debut+album+is+one+of+the+messiest+rock+LP%27s+ever.+In+addition+to+its+legacy%2C+the+album+is+the+most+commercially+successful+debut+ever.+
DESTRUCTIVE DEBUT: Guns N' Roses' debut album is one of the messiest rock LP's ever. In addition to its legacy, the album is the most commercially successful debut ever.

DESTRUCTIVE DEBUT: Guns N' Roses' debut album is one of the messiest rock LP's ever. In addition to its legacy, the album is the most commercially successful debut ever.

Photo by CC/BY Lawren

Photo by CC/BY Lawren

DESTRUCTIVE DEBUT: Guns N' Roses' debut album is one of the messiest rock LP's ever. In addition to its legacy, the album is the most commercially successful debut ever.

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30 years ago Ronald Reagan was president, the economy boomed, gangster rap emerged with N.W.A., Matthew Broderick was exalted for his lead in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and MTV was constantly on the TV set.

However, you cannot complete 1987 without the hit album Appetite For Destruction from Guns N’ Roses. Recorded in March ‘87, the most commercially successful debut album ever was released by Geffen Records and was able to top the Billboard 100.

Inspired and written during the glam rock scene on the Sunset Strip, Appetite is the most raw album to ever come out of Los Angeles.

Indiana natives Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin migrated west in hope of joining the rampant music scene of Los Angeles. Eventually combining with Slash, Duff McKagan, and Steven Adler, the long haired, strung out group of five unintentionally set out to make history.

Everything about this group restored the raw violence that coincides with rock n’ roll. The sporadic rampage that went out of style with glam rock was restored with Guns N’ Roses. Following the footsteps of the wild Rolling Stones, this out of control group brought back a genuine love for music that was truly special.

Chronicling the adventure of his first night outside of Indiana, Rose screeches his tale of partying, drugs and rock n’ roll on the album’s intro track, Welcome to the Jungle. The riff was written by Slash in his mom’s basement, and combined with Rose’s thrilling vocals, it made the first song off the debut album more memorable than anything the music industry had seen in a long time.

The group’s third single off the album, Sweet Child O’ Mine brought the group much of its momentum. The constant rotation of the accompanying music video on MTV threw Guns N’ Roses into the mainstream.

The overnight success was seen as a blessing and a curse to the band. In about five weeks, the record had sold over 200,000 copies. With a changed album cover, (Roses’ initial artwork was removed by Geffen executives for being too graphic) the album was able to be put in stores and into the public eye.

The band quickly escalated from dirty, homeless, 20 year olds from L.A., to the reigning rockstars of the late 80’s. Once again, a blessing and a curse. As the number of shows they played dramatically raised, so did the tensions.

Riots ensued at almost every concert, and Rose responded with just as much violence. Prone to quitting shows at the first sign of an outbreak, Rose threatened every crowd, making concerts a hostile environment.

During a stop in St. Louis on the promotional tour for Appetite, a fan famously recorded a continuous plea from Rose for more security on stage going unanswered, causing him to take matter into his own hands. Rose proceeded to maniacally scream obscenities and jump into the crowd to retrieve the camera himself.

In the next two and a half years, the band had unanimously fired Adler, who was battling heroin addiction and replaced him with The Cult drummer Matt Sorum. Citing his drug use as the reason he could no longer perform, the band began trying to put their demons behind them and sober up. However, in the following year, Stradlin and Slash left, as both were tired of Rose’s tyranny and increasing drug use.

In the years that followed Appetite, the original line up released an acoustic album, GNR Lies, and the two-part Use Your Illusion albums.

In the summer of 2016 the band astonishingly reunited for a brief tour, and Rose toured with AC/DC to fill in for lead singer Brian Johnson the same year.

Overall, the debut album from these sleazy L.A. rockers was a huge success, making a mark as true hard rock revivalist album, with an innovative, messy, and violent sound. Appetite for Destruction rings true with every word.

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“Appetite for Destruction” 30 years