Guns N’ Roses is an American hard rock band founded in Los Angeles, California in 1985 whose dangerous reputation, controversial front man, and technical prowess have made them one of the most popular rock and roll bands ever. They were ugly, misogynistic, and violent; they were also funny, vulnerable, and occasionally sensitive, as their breakthrough hit, "Sweet Child O' Mine," showed. While Slash and Izzy Stradlin ferociously spit out dueling guitar riffs worthy of Aerosmith or the Stones, Axl Rose screeched out his tales of sex, drugs, and apathy in the big city. Meanwhile, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Steven Adler were a limber rhythm section who kept the music loose and powerful. Guns N' Roses' music was basic and gritty, with a solid hard, bluesy base; they were dark, sleazy, dirty, and honest everything that good hard rock and heavy metal should be. There was something refreshing about a band that could provoke everything from devotion to hatred, especially since both sides were equally right. There hadn't been a hard rock band this raw or talented in years, and they were given added weight by Rose's primal rage, the sound of confused, frustrated white trash vying for his piece of the pie. As the '80s became the '90s, there simply wasn't a more interesting band around, but owing to intra-band friction and the emergence of alternative rock, Rose's supporting cast gradually disintegrated, as he spent years in seclusion.
The band's first album, Appetite for Destruction was released on July 21, 1987. The album underwent an artwork change after the original Robert Williams cover design (a surrealist scene in which a dagger-toothed monster vengefully attacks a robot rapist) spawned the album.The revised cover was a design by Bill White, a tattoo artist, who had originally designed the artwork for a tattoo Rose had acquired the previous year. The artwork featured each of the five band members' skulls layered on a cross. Rose later insisted that the Gold and Platinum plaques issued by the RIAA be set using the original cover art, which can be found in the booklet of the CD release. In the US, "Welcome to the Jungle" was issued as its first single, with an accompanying music video. Initially, the album and single lingered for almost a year without performing well, but when Geffen Records founder David Geffen was asked to lend support to the band, he obliged by personally convincing MTV executives to play "Welcome to the Jungle"during their afterhours rotation. Even though the video was initially only played one time at 4 a.m. on a Sunday, heavy metal and hard rock fans took notice and soon began requesting the video and song en masse.In Japan, an entire EP entitled Live from the Jungle was issued,containing the album version of "Sweet Child o' Mine" along with a selection of numerous Marquee Club recordings.
At the end of 1988 the band released "Lies" which featured four new acoustic songs and tracks from "Live Like A Suicide". The album hit number 2 of the charts but controversially the song "One In A Million" sparked intense controversy for its violent and racist lyrics. Also when in 1989 Guns N' Roses were awarded at the annual award show for best heavy metal album and best heavy metal song for "Appetite For Destruction" and "Paradise City", McKagan and Slash used strong language on live television. As a result all subsequent award shows were broadcasted with a five second delay!Following the release of GNR Lies, Use Your Illusion 1 and Use Your Illusion 2 made history by making the number 1 and 2 spots on the American Billboard Album chart. The albums were filled with songs that pushed Guns into a different direction, far from the Appetite era. They surprised critics who expected hard rock songs but found more “epic” tracks featuring a wider range of instruments (pianos, brass instruments, various effects, etc). The main response was that instead of releasing two albums that included “filler tracks”, they could have released one CD.
In 1996 and 1997, Slash, Sorum and McKagan all left the band for good, leaving Rose as the only remaining charter member of the band. The three later formed rock supergroup Velvet Revolver with former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland and guitarist Dave Kushner.In 1999, guitarist Robin Finck departed the band in order to rejoin his former band, Nine Inch Nails, on tour. In 2000, virtuoso guitarist Buckethead joined Guns N’ Roses as a replacement for Finck. Josh Freese was replaced with Bryan Mantia (formerly of Primus). Robin Finck returned to Guns N’ Roses in late 2000 to complement Buckethead on lead guitar.Chinese Democracy had been given the tentative release date of March 6, then reported September 17, 2007. However, both dates passed with no sign of the album. After further release dates were discussed, the album finally came out on November 23, 2008.
When it comes to living dangerously, few bands can claim they have done more so than Guns N' Roses. From creating musical masterpieces to causing riots in their gigs, no other band managed to cement such an untouchable legendary status with just four studio albums. The absolute encapsulation of "Sex, Drugs And Rock N' Roll" was to rise and fall in less than a decade.