Guns N’ Roses

            Guns N’ Roses is one of the landmark bands in the history of rock and roll. They released their debut album in 1987, entitled Appetite for Destruction. It wasn’t long before it climbed to the top of the charts, as did its hit single “Sweet Child o’ Mine.” They reached the second spot on the Billboard 200 the following year with their follow-up album, G N’ R Lies. They stayed at the top of the charts again in 1991, when they released two complementary albums, Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II. In short, they not only had an explosive introduction onto the music scene, but they stayed explosive for quite some time.

They rivaled other big names of their time such as Bon Jovi and Whitesnake with a style that paid notable tribute to hits bands of the 1970s such as Aerosmith. They weren’t just noted for their music, but for their ability to play to the audience and keep their listeners’ energy up. Their lead singer Axl Rose and guitarist Slash were nothing if not big personalities. Axl was more or less a wild animal when he took to the stage, to the extent that concert-goers could often see rubber foam taped around the mic stand and just about everything else within Axl’s reach. They wanted to let him maintain his energy without breaking any equipment.

The band became notable for their ability to mix classic rock stylings with the heavy metal personality that was growing increasingly popular in the music industry at the time. This was especially clear to anyone fortunate enough to witness live performances of hit songs such as “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City.” While the band’s personalities were undeniable, their music was actually somewhat restrained. They weren’t trying to show off innovative musical techniques, but simply solid chorus lines with music that was just good enough to become memorable.

The band also complemented each other exceedingly well. Dizzy Reed’s keyboard melodies, Izzy Stradlin’s rhythm guitar, and Duff McKagan’s bass lines were as important to any song as Axl’s vocals and Slash’s guitar. Their formula worked on a demonstrable level—despite only releasing six studio albums, they have managed to sell over one hundred million records internationally. This puts them around the same ballpark as musicians such as Bon Jovi, Metallica, Def Leppard and The Who.

Some have said that Guns N’ Roses inspired numerous other forms of rock music, from punk to glam rock. They’ve been compared to bands such as AC/DC and the Rolling Stones, and they’ve influenced several later bands as well. Bands such as Pearl Jam, The Darkness, Fall Out Boy and Limp Bizkit have all declared Guns N’ Roses to be among their influences at one point or another. In 2012, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the impact they have had on the music industry over the years. Even their least popular album, Chinese Democracy, sold well over one million copies and managed to generate some favorable reviews from modern critics.

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