Guns ’n Roses broke through in the late eighties with a sophisticated form of hard rock that left room for both raw energy and melody. Their unpredictable behavior, with many rumors about drug use, turned every performance into an adventure. Over the years, the band has recorded a number of rock classics, sometimes with long intervals in between. Rough and beautiful, what are the ten best songs from Guns’n Roses?
10. There Was A Time
Fifteen years after the last album, it was there in 2008: Chinese Democracy. Singer Axl Rose is at that moment the only remaining original member of the band. One of the highlights of the album is the lingering There Was A Time that inevitably moves towards an epic guitar solo, this time played by the adventurous guitarist Buckethead.
The long-awaited follow-up to breakthrough Appetite For Destruction was tackled in 1991 with two parts Use Your Illusion. Highlights were especially the longer songs with many guitar solos. The longest song is the dark Coma in which Rose sings about an earlier overdose. Calm moments in which he seems to be euphorically sinking away are alternated with long guitar passages in which Slash can prove himself.
8. You Could Be Mine
In 1991, after the band seemed to have disappeared from the face of the earth, the single You Could Be Mine formed a first sign of life. The song was linked to the extremely popular film Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a guest role in the video clip. You Could Be Mine is a real rocker with a pervasive chorus in which Axl Rose comes loose in the end with a sung rage.
7. Chinese Democracy
The remaining Guns ‘n Roses fans must have held their breath when they finally could listen to the Chinese Democracy album. The wait was worth it because the title track with which the album opens is immediately a classic. The guitar riffs sound better than ever and Rose still manages to charge herself for a brutal chorus.
Axl Rose is best known for its characteristic voice with sharp lashes. Yet he is also a writer of beautiful melodies. Estranged, found on Use Your Illusion II, is one of the ballads about relationships in which this sense of melody comes fully into its own. The band goes musically for big gestures with many tempo changes. Naturally, Slash is given extra room to display his arts.
5. Paradise City
The fourth single from Appetite For Destruction quickly grew into a crowd favorite. The song has a great structure and starts immediately with the chorus. This can of course be sung along nicely by the audience during concerts. Then the real song starts with a classical guitar melody and a pounding rhythm. To top it all off, Guns’n Roses throws the tempo up sharply at the end, after which Slash plays a snake-like solo that is counted among the best of the rock genre.
4. November Rain
November Rain is the epic ballad of Use Your Illusion I. The song is really constructed as a classic rock song with a calm introduction in which piano and violins play an important role. The intensity is slowly increased, which naturally results in a double guitar solo. Almost immediately, November Rain was embraced as a rock classic that can compete with the best songs from the seventies.
3. It’s So Easy
Thanks to the classic rock ballads and sometimes pompous video clips, it is easy to forget that Guns’n Roses was one of the dirtiest rock bands of its time. The sexist It’s So Easy from Appetite For Destruction is Guns’n Roses at its ugliest. It is a hard and fast rocker on which Axl Rose sings in a monotonous voice until he takes his typical high lashes out of the chorus. Despite a lack of hit potential, this was surprisingly the first single from the album.
2. Sweet Child o’ Mine
Appetite For Destruction was already a year old when the third single Sweet Child o ‘Mine was released. Until then, the album had virtually gone unnoticed outside of Los Angeles. But suddenly Sweet Child o ‘Mine could be heard everywhere and it quickly reached first place in the United States. Sweet Child o ’Mine can also be called a real rock classic. The guitar melody with which it starts can be recognized from thousands. In terms of content, Rose lovingly sings to his then girlfriend Erin Everly. But the announcement of an inevitable break, when he repeatedly sings “where do we go now”, gives the song a nice twist. This is followed by the best guitar solo from Slash, which millions of guitarists have been trying to learn by heart ever since.
1. Welcome to the Jungle
Welcome to the Jungle is the number that best summarizes the worldview of Guns’n Roses. A lump of aggression in the form of a rock song. The sound of sirens that accompanies a threatening guitar immediately creates tension. Then the song pops with a very own swing that you hardly hear in rock music. Rose sings with audible pleasure about a city as a chaos of pleasure and violence. Since then, Welcome to the Jungle is often used as an introduction number in American sports stations, hoping to intimidate opponents. The song is also used in Dead Pool, the fifth Dirty Harry film in which Guns’n Roses act as extras. In the film, a then-unknown Jim Carrey plays the song as a rock star.