Could this be the greatest rock album of all time?
Back in the day, before the internet, discovering new music was a different experience. It involved heading to the local record store or pouring over music magazines like Kerrang! to find out what was new and exciting. This is how I first heard of Guns N’ Roses. The band had just released their debut EP, “Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide,” and it was already getting rave reviews.
This was not available locally, so off we went to London to visit a small record shop on Wardour Street in London called Shades Records. It was an amazing shop for any rock lover, as you could get imports and merchandise from around the world. Wardour Street was also home to the legendary Marquee Club.
Sure enough, Kerrang! was right. This was an amazing band, and I couldn’t wait for their debut album, Appetite for Destruction. Eventually, I got it and played it to death. Every Friday, I would take it to the local Rock Club where they would play it for a fresh audience.
Appetite for Destruction, is widely regarded as one of the greatest hard rock albums of all time. Released in 1987, the album was a turning point for the genre in the late ’80s, standing out as a dirty, dangerous, and mean record in a time when heavy metal was all about having a good time. The album’s raw and gritty sound borrowed from bluesy, metallic hard rock of Aerosmith, AC/DC, and countless other hard rock bands of the early ’80s, but Guns N’ Roses managed to make it their own.
On the surface, Guns N’ Roses may seem like they celebrate the same things as their peers, such as sex, liquor, drugs, and rock & roll. However, there is a nasty edge to their songs, particularly the lyrics. Lead singer Axl Rose’s lyrics reflect his disillusionment with the urban sprawl of L.A. and its parade of heavy metal thugs, cheap women, booze, and crime. The music is as nasty as the lyrics, wallowing in a primal, sleazy sound that adds grit to already grim tales.
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But what makes Appetite for Destruction truly stand out is the twin-guitar interplay between Slash and Izzy Stradlin. They spit out riffs and solos that are better than any band since the Rolling Stones. From the charging “Welcome to the Jungle,” the heroin ode “Mr. Brownstone,” to “Paradise City,” which simply wants out, the guitars provide the perfect backdrop for Rose’s lyrics and vocals.
What I find amazing about this album is that it remained underground for a long time, only known in the rock world. It took years, but eventually, the rest of the world caught up with us. It’s strange to think that now you would be hard-pressed to find anyone on the planet who hasn’t heard ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine.’
Regarding “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”, Axl loved it and had Slash keep playing it. Izzy Stradlin added some chords, and the song came together. Of course, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” went on to become one of the band’s most beloved and iconic songs, cementing its place in rock history. Incredibly this was the bands only No.1 single.
But while the songs are the heart of the album, it’s the band’s performance that truly brings them to life. Axl Rose’s soaring vocals, Slash’s blistering guitar solos, and the tight rhythm section of Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin, and Steven Adler all combine to create a sound that is greater than the sum of its parts. This is a band firing on all cylinders, and it’s a joy to hear.
Appetite for Destruction Artwork
Of course, no discussion of Appetite for Destruction would be complete without mentioning the album’s controversial cover art. The original artwork, which depicted the aftermath of graphic sexual assault perpetrated by a robot, was deemed too offensive for some retailers and was replaced with a more tame design. But even with the less controversial artwork, the album still managed to ruffle some feathers with its explicit lyrics and rebellious attitude.
Painted in 1978, the piece was titled “Appetite for Destruction” well before Rose and his band discovered it. After he agreed to license the image to a then-obscure Guns N’ Roses, Artist Robert Williams later received a call asking if the band could use the name of the painting as the title of their album. He agreed, unaware of just how huge the record would become. “They paid [licensing fees] as an unheard of punk rock band would’ve paid,” Williams remembers. “Not a whole lot at all. They were just, to me, another garage band.”. Axel originally saw the image on a postcard somewhere in Los Angeles.
Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction is a quintessential hard rock album of the late ’80s that stands the test of time. Its raw and gritty sound, combined with Axl Rose’s lyrics and vocals, and the twin-guitar interplay of Slash and Izzy Stradlin make it a powerful record that captures the fears and horrors of the decaying inner city. If you are a fan of hard rock or just looking for an album that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster, then look no further than Appetite for Destruction.
Today, over three decades since its release, Guns N’ Roses’ debut album, Appetite for Destruction, continues to hold a special place in the hearts of music fans around the world. The album is widely regarded as one of the greatest rock albums of all time, and its influence on the genre is still being felt today.
Classic Album Reviews: Appetite for Destruction: The Raw and Gritty Classic That Redefined A Generation. @Rock News