The reunited Guns N’ Roses continue to win huge new acclaim for their continuing Not In This Lifetime tour. So let’s remember how, on 19 June 1987, they became the latest in the distinguished list of artists who cut their teeth internationally at London’s famous Marquee Club. Early followers of the up-and-coming band paid a princely admission fee of £4 to enter the celebrated Wardour Street location and see G N’ R’s first-ever gig outside the US.
The show took place in the very week that Guns N’ Roses first flickered on the UK sales charts. But they were still very much below the radar. The published singles chart was a top 75, so their new release ‘It’s So Easy’ was largely hidden from view as it entered the 20 June listings at No. 84. That turned out to be its peak, with two further showings at 96 and 88.
The band also made a slow start with their debut album Appetite For Destruction. The future classic debuted in the UK at No. 68 in early August. It didn’t really hit its chart stride until well into 1989. But in the meantime, that London visit was helping to fuel the fire.
“We did two shows [the second on June 22], and they were just awesome,” Slash remembered in an interview with this writer for the Sunday Times in 2014. “It was great to be part of that history. We were one of the last rock ‘n’ roll bands to come along and break out of that club. [The Marquee] had a great history, it was sort of London’s equivalent to the Troubadour. Everybody fantastic came to that club, and we had two great nights.
“I’ll never forget that week building up to it,” continued the Guns N’ Roses guitarist. “We were [in London] rehearsing at John Henry’s and just scrounging around Soho, meeting people, getting drunk and picking up girls, and so on. It culminated in these two night, really sweaty nights, at the Marquee.
“I have a video for one of those evenings. Someone was walking around with a camera, and videotaped the entire day, from before soundcheck all the way through the show. I have it on DVD. I don’t even remember who shot it, but someone gave it to me in the last couple of years. I’m sitting there with it, I don’t know what to do with it. It was packed to the rafters, and it was a real proper rock ‘n’ roll kind of thing.”
Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite For Destruction: Locked N’ Loaded Edition box set can be bought here.
Follow the Rock Hits playlist, in which Guns N’ Roses take their place alongside dozens of other classic rock acts.