top of page

Guns N’ Roses - Appetite for Destruction

The album "Appetite for Destruction", is one of the biggest albums in the world of music, it broke records, shattered conventions, and mostly changed the face of music, the debut album of "Guns N 'Roses" was released on July 21, 1987.

At a time when glam was the hottest thing in rock music, band members looked better than supermodels and the amount of hair spray could launch a rocket to space, this wild bunch came to turn it all around.

Unequivocal! The album was a turning point in the rock world of the late 80s!!

It was a different, dirty, dangerous, and extremely aggressive album compared to what was out at the time.

It is very difficult to talk about an album with such an aura, especially when it is the best-selling debut album in the history of music with over 30 million copies! But we will try...

The album did not really succeed in its first year of release, in 1987. It did not receive much airplay or exposure and even received harsh criticism from many critics. After a year of touring in bars and small clubs as band members scattered their "destruction" everywhere, it began to gain momentum, and apart from playing on various radio stations, MTV, which was popular at the time, gave it plenty of screen time. The singles: "Welcome to the Jungle", "Sweet Child O 'Mine" and "Paradise City" were anthems and were played frequently over the airwaves.

This supergroup (there is no other way to call them) is made up of exceptional and talented musicians who are from out of space. Undoubtedly the total parts here are greater than the whole. This is no one-man show here (Axl will realize it later on his own), and no artist is more prominent here than the others. True, Axl Rose and Slash were the dominant ones, but with their ears on the ground, without a doubt, all of this would not have happened without the other members in the lineup Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin, and Steven Adler.

Slash said that at the beginning, on one of the tour rounds, they were traveling in a van from Los Angeles to Seattle, and the van with all the equipment got stuck on the road. To get to the show, they hitchhiked along the way and eventually came up to the stage with rented gear for the show. This experience brought them very close together and made them a cohesive and connected group.


The hallmark of one of the greatest guitarists in the world is revealed on this album - Slash !!! And that sound did not come easily. Mike Clink, who produced this famous album, sat with Slash for many hours, with a variety of guitars and amps, to find the sound that Slash wanted so badly. In the end, as we all know, the combination of the Gibson Les Paul guitar with the Marshall amp is the one that was chosen and created the famous hallmark and sound that shakes the eardrum and soul of us all.

An interesting story about that Les Paul guitar is - It is actually a replica of the original guitar. The replica was created by Kris Derrig, who worked at a musical instrument store in Los Angeles. Legend has it that Lenny Kravitz also held such a replica. What's more interesting is that the imitation was so good and included improvements that made the guitar sound amazing, which eventually led Gibson to create in 2010 a signature model based on the exact iconic replica called "Slash Appetite Les Paul model".

"KISS" singer and guitarist Paul Stanley, who was one of the first producers "Geffen record" company offered to the band, really liked Guns materials and sound but insisted on changing Steven's drumming style. Thankfully, in the end, the band disagreed with Paul and we were privileged to have Steven's 'dragging' and bombastic sound. When everyone around presented an extravagant drum set with double bass drums, tom-toms in a variety of sizes and colors, and several cymbals that were enough for the Red Army choir, Steven Adler presented a set of drums that returned to basic, to the sources: bass drum, one tom-tom, one flour tom-tom (sometimes two) and a snare. Although a limited set, but as we witness today, it also provides great power and technicality. The man that completed him on bass is of course Duff McKagan, who gave Steven the blows on the rails he rode on and took him on a journey of a battering, cruel, and rough pace. Sometimes he led songs on the album and sometimes accompanied them, but no doubt he gave them the volume and power they convey.

The collaboration of Slash and Izzy Stradlin is more than perfect. Izzy is an excellent guitarist, accompanying the leader that allows him the creativity and dynamics he reaches in songs. Admittedly a bit of an annoying but real statement: Izzy was the perfect backdrop for the real star.

And the icing on the cake was the man whose voice was unique but also his character, which contributed greatly to the band's image: Axl Rose. Axl turned the lyrical topics that were quite familiar in the rock genre at the time - drugs, alcohol, relationships, into something much dirtier, rougher, and crueler.

All these elements are reflected in the album where each song is amazing on its own...

The album opens with an explosion with "Welcome to the Jungle", which tells the story of Los Angeles's dark side, especially about young artists trying to find fame there, like the friends from Guns who learned it in the flesh. It is interesting to note that Axl wrote the lyrics to the song while visiting Seattle which gave him some perspective and a source for comparison. When the song was first released in 1987 it was unsuccessful in the US. The band released it again in October 1988, after the single "Sweet Child O 'Mine" became a hit and by then it was already a big hit. Eventually, he used a transcription of a Les Paul '59 guitar attached to a Marshall JCM amplifier and was able to achieve the desired result.

Continuing with the craziness to the second track, "It's So Easy": a song written by Duff along with West Arkeen who also helped write the songs "Patience", "The Garden" and "Yesterdays". This is the first single released from the album, a surprising choice given that the album is steeped in bigger hits. The song tells of the band's condition with a depleted bank account and difficulty making money, but what was very easy for them was "girls".

From there we board a night train with "Nightrain": a song that does not refer to transportation but is a kind of tribute to a type of cheap and infamous wine from California called "Night Train Express". The band members used to drink the wine in huge amounts because it was cheap and with a high percentage of alcohol. The first half of the guitar solo and the guitar at the beginning of the song were played by Izzy and the second half was played by Slash.

In the fourth track, "Out to Get Me", Axl drew inspiration from his youth, in which he was no small brat and the police were an integral part of his daily life, and not in a positive way. He was constantly told how he should behave, what he should do, and how he should dress so as not to be a brat and avoid trouble. But of course, that did not stop him and in one of the performances before the song started, he dedicated the song to all those who had the & @% $ broken and were constantly told what to do.

The fifth song, "Mr. Brownstone" was written by Izzy and Slash in Izzy's apartment on a paper shopping bag in which they complain about their heroin addiction (Brown is a nickname for heroin). The song tells about how heroin affected the band and is the first song the band wrote after signing for Geffen. The song has become a regular part of their tour since 1986.

The sixth song, "Paradise City", is Slash's favorite song (according to several sources). A song was written by all the band members as they improvise while riding the bus back from a show in San Francisco. Imagine all five members of the band (as in the scene from The Patience) only they are sitting on the bus, playing acoustic guitars and everyone is throwing a line. This is exactly how the song was written.

Unlike the rest of the songs on the album, in the song "My Michelle" Slash replaced his popular Gibson in the 1960s Gibson SG, because he was looking for a darker sound. The song is about a girl who was a member of the band and several times "hinted" to them that she always dreamed that someone would write a song about her. At first, Axl created a soft and sweet song but very quickly felt it was not real and turned it into a dark and a bit gloomy song. Although the band members were afraid of Michelle's reaction because the text talks about the difficulties in her life she loved the piece.

The song "Think About You" was written by Izzy before he joined Guns and it talks about falling in love. Some say it was written about a girl named Monique Lewis, whom all the band members desired, and that Axel even has her tattoo on his arm.

The part that is probably the most famous on the album and which brought the band success is "Sweet Child O 'Mine". Slash invented the ingenious and immortal riff when he played with the guitar. He thought the riff was childish and never thought of doing anything with it, but Axl loved it very much and forced him to keep playing. Izzy added a few chords to the song and the rest is history. The song was written by Axl about his girlfriend Erin Everly, the daughter of Don Everly from the Everly Brothers band. After dating her for years they married in Las Vegas in 1990 but only 9 months later the marriage was canceled, when Everly claimed that Axl had abused her. By the way, Duff McKagan's autobiography claims that Slash still thinks it's Guns' worst song. Slash noted in an interview with the Rolling Stones that he was influenced here by the bands "Cream", "Led Zeppelin", and Jeff Beck. As for Axe's voice, rumor has it he listened to "Lynyrd Skynyrd's" songs before the recording in a conscious attempt to mimic the sound of the southern band.

The song that seals the album, "Rocket Queen", tells the story of a woman named Barbie Von Greif, according to what is written on the inside cover of the album. Barbie used to hang out with the band members in her early days along with her friend Pamela Manning. Pamela and Barbie had a band as well. Barbie Sarah and Pamela played drums and the two thought of calling their band "Rocket Queen". Legend has it that the sounds of groaning and sex during the song are a recording of Axl having sex in the studio with drummer Steven Adler's girlfriend, Adriana Smith.

And now a little about the album cover...

The original design of the cover included an illustration of a robot and a girl allegedly raped by him. The record stores did not like the cover and the pressure exerted on the band caused her to change it to the familiar cross cover with the illustrations of the band members when the original painting was inserted into the inner cover.

In addition, the vinyl album did not include the traditional side A and side B, but side G and side R. Songs 6-1, which dealt with drugs and the hard life in the big city, were crowned as side G, i.e. Guns, while the rest of the songs were inserted side R, i.e. Roses, which deals with love, sex, and personal relationships.

The album "Appetite for Destruction" is a powerful and mighty album that had a huge impact at the time and even today when you hear every single one of the songs in it feel the same power soaring again.

Axl takes out his anger and aggression and at the same time his fears and weaknesses. When you take such a powerful sound with such powerful lyrics and combine them with a bunch of musicians from another galaxy, that's what makes this album the best album of the late 80s!

So stop for a moment, open the lyrics, click on the link, and start singing: Spotify, Apple Music

Follow us on Facebook or Subscribe to our website

"Face/Off" - Israel's Rock Blog & Podcast


Enjoying the Blog? Subscribe to get it right to your mail!

Thank you !!

bottom of page