Facts About Guns N' Roses

by Daniel Fox
Guns N' Roses performs in Sydney.

Guns N' Roses performs in Sydney.

Robert Cianflone/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Guns N' Roses formed in Hollywood during the 1980s and went on to become one of the most successful hard rock bands of all time. Their debut album, "Appetite for Destruction," is one of the biggest rock and roll albums in history. But the band is also infamous for a number of reasons, the most notable being the turmoil surrounding and leading to the breakup of the core lineup in the 1990s, leaving lead singer Axl Rose as the only remaining original member.


The core lineup of Guns N' Roses on the debut album was Axl Rose on lead vocals, Slash on lead guitar, Izzy Stradlin playing rhythm guitar, Duff McKagan on bass and Steven Adler working the drums. Adler left the group before the release of the "Use Your Illusion" albums; Matt Sorum replaced him on drums. Stradlin would eventually leave the band as well. Gilby Clarke replaced him. The band would add Dizzy Reed on keyboards, who remains with the band as of the time of publication, along with Axl Rose. McKagan, Sorum and Slash left the band in the '90s, solidifying the breakup. In the time since, numerous players have joined Guns N' Roses.


Guns N' Roses released "Appetite for Destruction" in 1987. It has since gone on to become the best-selling debut album in history. During its initial run, the band received heavy airplay both on the radio and on MTV. The three signature songs from the album are "Welcome to the Jungle," "Paradise City" and "Sweet Child O' Mine," all of which were accompanied by music videos. The album depicted the Hollywood music scene at the time, capturing many of the darker elements that seemed to elude other bands of that era. "Rolling Stone" has ranked it No. 61 on it list of the 500 best albums of all time.


Guns N' Roses released "Use Your Illusion I" and "Use Your Illusion II" simultaneously in 1991. While the albums contained many purist hard rock tunes, the sound started to migrate away from the grittiness of the first album. Axl Rose's major musical influences, which included Queen and Elton John, show on numerous tracks. The most famous song on the albums, largely due to the ambitious music video that accompanied it, was "November Rain." The song's sound was a distinct departure from the hard rock of previous years, and a venture into more of a sweeping, epic pop sound.

Chinese Democracy

During the mid to late '90s, Axl Rose began work on what would become one of the most infamous albums in history, "Chinese Democracy." The album finally arrived in 2008, more than a decade after writing and recording began. The lengthy anticipation of the album's release is almost the stuff of legend in the music industry. The album features contributions from a large number of musicians who worked with Axl Rose during the album's creation.

About the Author

A novelist and essayist, Daniel Fox has been writing since 1996. His work has appeared in various international periodicals. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Photo Credits

  • Robert Cianflone/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images